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new years resolutions 1

With each New Year comes an abundance of health resolutions. However well intended, many people often fall short of meeting their wellness goals. This year, increase the odds of realizing resolution success with the help of practical and purposeful diet, fitness, self-care and other healthy living products. The marketplace is teeming with ingenious solutions, such as those cited below, which can help ensure you look and feel your very best from top to bottom, and from the inside out, all year through.

Theradome LH80 PRO 2 credit Theradome  Theradome LH80 PRO 3 credit Theradome

Theradome Laser Hair Restoration Helmet (www.Theradome.com) - $895
Theradome LH80 PRO is the first and only FDA cleared, over-the-counter laser hair restoration helmet for at-home use. This incredible invention has proven to grow new, healthy hair, double the follicle size of existing hair, and slow down or stop hair loss. In clinical trials, 100% of users experienced improvements to their hair growth, with 98% experiencing medically significant improvements. And the process is so easy. Users simply wear the helmet around the house for 20 minutes, twice a week. Theradome utilizes 80 specially developed, high-efficiency lasers to deliver the maximum amount of light at an optimized wavelength all over the scalp. Also very noteworthy is the fact that Theradome has zero side effects, unlike almost every other type of hair loss treatment.

 Supreme ADVANCE BOTO WRINKLE FILLER AGE DEFYING 1 credit Premier North America

SUPREME Advanced BOTO Targeted Age Defying Wrinkle Filler (www.PremierDeadSea-usa.com)Specially developed to target wrinkles, this breakthrough, dual action formula is fortified with an exclusive fusion of actives that immediately go to work filling creases and re-plumping skin. SUPREME Advanced BOTO Targeted Age Defying Wrinkle Filler is a unique, potent, paraben-free formula that contains phospholipids and stem cells to cultivate beautiful looking skin. Supreme is the newest line by Premier. The entire line is paraben-Free and features plant based-stem cells. BOTO, a play on the word BOTOX, provides intense moisturization and both short and long term wrinkle relief by “plumping” the surface to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Just apply the filler directly into the wrinkle base in soft movements, lightly tapping until absorbed. The product can be used alone or as part of the full BOTO Age Defying Kit that includes Age Defying Cream, Serum, Mask and, of course, the Targeted Wrinkle Filler.

Colorescience Anti Aging Serum 1 credit Colorescience

Colorescience Anti-Aging Serum (www.Colorescience.com) - $150

Experience immediate results and continued benefits with Colorescience Anti-Aging Serum, a 3-in-1 treatment product clinically shown to improve your appearance. This serum is designed to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin’s resiliency, clarity, texture, tone, hydration and luminosity. The product contains Decaplex-10—a synergistic peptide complex that improves the signs of aging, improve skin firmness and texture to appear smoother. This Anti-Aging Serum also contains Hyaluronic Acid, which helps with increased hydration and firmness. One clinical study of this product showed that 97% of patients experienced overall improvements in fine lines, skin texture, and clarity while 100% experienced improvements in the overall appearance of crow’s feet, radiance and firmness. Colorescience Anti-Aging Serum is ideal for all skin types.

luxie 12 pc set 99912.1415317134.350.400

Luxie Rose Gold Synthetic 12-Piece Makeup Brush Set (www.LuxieBeauty.com) - $110
The Luxie Rose Gold Collection Synthetic 12-Piece Makeup Brush Set is a 100% Animal Cruelty Free brush set with high quality synthetic hair bristles that are soft to the touch. From a health perspective, I particularly like this set because it’s coated with a revolutionary antibacterial solution for minimal brush cleansing, ensuring your brushes remain fresh and clean for longer periods of time. Also well designed for makeup application, the density of the brushes allow for an even application without any wasted product and does not absorb the product into the bristles. Each brush is cut to precision in order to perfectly apply products to the natural contours of the face. With its Vegan makeup qualities from bristles to ferrule, this Rose Gold brush set is a great addition to your makeup collection.

  PanOxyl 4 Acne Creamy Wash 3 credit GlaxoSmithKline PanOxyl 10 Acne Cleansing Bar 2 credit GlaxoSmithKline PanOxyl 10 Acne Foaming Wash 4 credit GlaxoSmith Kline  

PanOxyl Advanced Acne Spot Treatment 1 credit GlaxoSmithKline


PanOxyl Acne Products (www.PanOxyl.com) - $7.99-$11.99
Start the New Year off right by putting your best face forward with the help of PanOxyl’s dermatologist-recommended skincare products. The 10% Acne Cleansing Bar is perfect for the shower and for managing breakouts from head to toe. Have problems with dry skin? The 4% Acne Creamy Wash is pH-balanced to kill acne-causing bacteria while maintaining your skin's hydration. The best-selling 10% Acne Foaming Wash eliminates 99% of acne-causing bacteria with its maximum strength Benzoyl Peroxide formulation while the Advanced Acne Spot Treatment is the perfect on-the-go solution for fighting blemishes fast. The spot treatment is effective in killing acne-causing bacteria while being gentle on skin. With this set pimples don’t have a chance!


AeroOne Air Disinfection System (www.Amazon.com) - $899
Breathe easy this year with unparalleled indoor air quality courtesy of the AeroOne. The AeroOne is much more than an air purifier. It is an air disinfection system, designed to kill and remove living microorganisms from the air as efficiently as possible. Unlike standard physical air filtration systems, this device uses a unique, patent-pending solid reactor system which combines ultraviolet light with a solid matrix of UV-transmissible lenses combined with a filtration system stout enough to be used in hospitals. The AeroOne is creating a new generation of home air disinfection systems. Made in the U.S.A., the AeroOne uses high quality steel and components to ensure high end performance. This unit is especially helpful for people with asthma, allergies, and those who suffer from weak immune systems.

ZzzQuil Plugged In Sleep Enhancer 1 credit Kaz ZzzQuil Plugged In Sleep Enhancer 2 credit Kaz

ZzzQuil Plugged-In Sleep Enhancer (www.Kaz.com) - $10.99
Quality sleep can be tough to come by, but with the ZzzQuil Plugged-In Sleep Enhancer you can create the ultimate sleep environment with the soothing aromas of lavender and chamomile. More than just spa-centric scent, lavender has actually been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, potentially putting you in a more relaxed state and leaving you feeling more vigorous in the morning. Equipped with heat activated ZzzPads, this purposeful plug-in gradually releases the calming scents for non-medicated comfort and a better night’s sleep. The compact, portable design also has adjustable scent levels to accommodate any sized room with up to 8 hours of aromatherapy relief.

Leeo 1 credit Leeo

The Smart Alert Nightlight (www.Leeo.com) - $99
The Smart Alert Nightlight is easy-to-use device with a beautiful sleek design that monitors a home’s existing smoke and CO alarms, tracks temperature and humidity, and alerts residents of any changes or issues via the free Leeo smartphone APP. The device also contains an LED light, which allows minimal energy consumption, and gives you access to over 16 million colors to customize based on mood, time of day or home décor. With no monthly fees or complicated installation required, homeowners and renters can secure their homes by simply plugging the device into a centralized power outlet. The associated Leeo APP works with the iPhone 4S or later and the iPod Touch (5th Gen or later) with iOS 7+.


Nutri Ninja Blender (www.NinjaKitchen.com) - $89.99
The Nutri Ninja combines a powerful 900-watt motor with Pro Extractor Blades, designed to break through skins, seeds and even stems, allowing you to enjoy the full natural benefits of your favorite foods. The Nutri Ninja is ideal for the fitness enthusiast, commuting professional or busy student, as it is capable of blending whole fruits, vegetables and ice into nutrient-complete juices within seconds in convenient single serve cups. Compared to traditional juicing, nutrient and vitamin extraction maintains healthy fiber to help keep consumers fuller, longer.  Product features include 18 and 24 ounce single serve cups, 2 Sip & Seal Lids, 30 recipes and a wellness guide. Its compact design provides for easy storage. This blender is also BPA free, dishwasher safe and microwave safe.

Powered ON 1 credit Powered ON BeveragesPowered ON Energy Beverage (www.PoweredOn.com) - $1.99 per bottle

Powered ON is for health-savvy individuals who work hard and play to win. Powered ON is the first and only U.S. beverage to feature ornithine, an amino acid that recently received GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status in October of 2013. Combining the proprietary, energy boosting and sustaining blend of ornithine and caffeine, this refreshing energy beverage is naturally sweetened, low calorie, and infused with essential B vitamins. Powered ON fuels endurance, increases stamina, and enhances focus. An added perk: it’s flavorful too! Finally, there’s a functional beverage that truly tastes good. When you want to perform at your full potential, join the “bevolution” and Power ON.

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a MAIN DSCN1549 LO Credit www.LuxeListReviews.com

As one of the premier wine and food festivals in the nation and the largest in Southern California, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival continues to captivate the hearts, minds and mouths of epicures seeking to savor the best in food and drink while schmoozing with power players from America’s prolific gastro-scene. This year’s 11th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival again culminated with the legendary Grand Tasting Event, this year held on November 22, 2014, which was a magnificent mélange of some of the nation’s most celebrated chefs, local culinary rock stars, renowned winemakers and brewmasters, sommeliers, mixologists, authors and other F&B talents who titillated and satiated the collective palate of more than 10,000 eager event-goers.

As with years past, the famed Grand Tasting Event (this year presented by Kia K900) turned the San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina Park North into an epicurean epicenter where the city’s preeminent chefs and other distinguished culinary masters from around the nation converged with an international showcase of the world's premiere wine, beer and spirits purveyors to showcase tasty new food and drink trends and innovative techniques. This food lover’s paradise featured no less than 200 wineries, breweries and sprits from around the world, 70 local restaurants plus dozens of gourmet food companies, and an exciting “Chef of the Fest Competition” where San Diego’s best chefs take center stage. The magnitude of culinary talent at this one locale never ceases to amaze.

Grand Tasting spectacular aside, this year’s week-long San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival set out to deliver the most indulgent fête yet. For one, the 7-day experience highlighted San Diego’s vibrant culinary community with over 20 citywide events, wine and cooking classes, chef dinners, and multiple tasting events held throughout the week. These included rare tasting experiences like the highly-coveted tasting of the great Spanish wines of Vega Sicilia’s Unico from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s as well as a First-Growth Bordeaux tasting of all five First Growths of the 1855 Bordeaux wine classification including Chateaux Lafite, Latour, Mouton, Margaux and Haut Brion.

As mentioned, this year’s Festival also attracted culinary greats from across the country, including James Beard award-winning chefs Nate Appleman, Gale Gand, and RJ Cooper, Iron Chef America winner Katsuya Fukushima, and Chef Richard Blais of BRAVO TV Top Chef fame. Local San Diego culinary greats rounded out the roster of chef-lebrities, including Bernard Guillas of La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and The Marine Room, Ivan Flowers of Top of the Market, Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen, and Brian Bonney of The Oceanaire Seafood Room, among throngs of others.

Even amid all of this grandeur and gaiety, the annual Grand Tasting Event—the drool-inducing apex of the sizzling, star-studded week-long Festival—is what I consider to be the singular can’t-miss occurrence.  With restaurants, wineries, spirit and specialty food companies galore, it’s a marvelous opportunity to meander alongside the beautiful San Diego Bay as you partake in one of the largest and most lauded wine and food events in America.


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

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1With so many hotel options in New York City it’s difficult to be distinctive. But the Sofitel New York hotel effectively sets itself apart from the pack by bringing the French style of luxury living to discerning guests taking a bite of the Big Apple.

While boutique in its service sensibility, Sofitel New York encompasses a 30-story building overlooking 44th and 45th streets. The hotel offers a full 398 guest rooms and 52 suites—including a presidential suite—that exude a sophisticated, modern European ambience and a Paris-to-New York jet-set style. In fact, the hotel’s structural design is one of masterfully executed Parisian Art Deco melded with 1940s Manhattan glamour, courtesy of architect Brennan Beer Gorman who was awarded for the “best new skyscraper for design and functionality” upon the property’s 2000 opening.

Throughout the interior, the property’s Art Deco yet contemporary interior décor, designed by renowned Parisian designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, is reminiscent of an upscale, formal private club but also radiates the warmth of a gracious home. Perched majestically near the lobby staircase is l’Oiseau–the Bird–a sculpture by Jean-Michel Foulon, which is said to be soaring upward to convey a feeling of flying in silent tribute to the bicentennial of the French Revolution. Overall, the sensory effect is quite transportive as Sofitel New York emanates a sophisticated Parisian-chic countenance.

Parisian Immersion
In a town where it can be difficult if not impossible to distinguish oneself, Balendra Nagesvaran, Vice President of Hotel Operations for North America and General Manager of Sofitel New York, is eager to point out precisely why he feels this hotel offers its guests a distinctly different level of hospitality. He explains, “The hotel is infused with the French art de vivre and brings elements of French culture to the guest experience such as a ‘bonjour’ at check-in, Parisian Art Deco-inspired guestrooms, elegant floral displays, and exquisite Brasserie cuisine at Gaby.” Nagesvaran continues, “The hotel’s location is also a differentiator. We’re in the heart of Manhattan’s bustling theater district and just minutes away from Fifth Avenue, the center of Manhattan’s business, art and cultural scenes.”

Nagesvaran also commented on Sofitel New York’s commitment to impeccable internationally-oriented service. “The passion and attention to detail that is generated by our hotel staff is a stand out for me. Our hotel is staffed with French-speaking ambassadors in each department, and our staff speaks a combined total of 52 languages.”

Distinctive Digs
True to Nagesvaran’s word, I myself was greeted by multiple hotel staff with a friendly, “Bonjour” making me feel like I was actually in the City of Light. Even once settled into my room, which incidentally had a direct view of the Empire State Building off to the left, the feeling that I was in a Paris flat remained. All rooms at Sofitel New York feature spacious marble baths outfitted with a separate tub and rain shower, wood-framed beveled mirrors, and marble vanities stocked with imported French bath amenities by Lanvin or, if you’re staying in a suite, by Hermès.

The focal point of each guest room is a custom maple or rosewood three-paneled, full-wall headboard with a recessed, spot-lit niche—the perfect display for the large colorful painting above each bed. And, speaking of beds, New York may be the “city that never sleeps” but with Sofitel’s signature feather-top and duvet “SoBeds,” catching a few winks to recharge for a night on the town is wonderfully indulgent. To further evoke a sense of geography, the walls in the rooms are like an art gallery, showcasing both vintage and current black-and-white photography from Paris and New York. Of course, windows provide various Manhattan vistas that range from 44th Street to the Chrysler Building. All rooms are bathed in natural light, and if you’re looking for something extra, two of the rooms feature private balconies.

On the practical side, each guest room includes a built-in or standing desk with integrated data port and multiple phone lines, flat-screen television, BOSE music system, wireless internet access and a fully stocked minibar.

Relative to hotel services, Sofitel New York include everything you would expect from an AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel brand such as 24-hour room service, concierge service, nightly turn-down service with Evian water and international newspaper delivery.

French Fare
No visit to Sofitel New York is complete without a visit to Gaby, the hotel’s acclaimed on-site restaurant that is another source of pride for Nagesvaran, who remarked, “Fine French cuisine served at Gaby Brasserie Française is another differentiator for us. Executive Chef Sylvain Harribey, who won Food Network’s Chopped among many other culinary achievements, serves up classic French cuisine with tons of personality.”

With such an endorsement, I eagerly visited Gaby for dinner service where I reveled in the restaurant’s creamy Eggplant and Porcini Soup, Mesclun Salad topped with exquisite shaved parmesan; and a classic Duck Confit all capped off with a seductive Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée topped with fresh berries. Gaby is also known for fusion fare, with a range of international dishes with Asian, Latin or African influences. The bar at Gaby is a great spot for happy hour, where patrons can partake in 40 different wines by the glass that can be perfectly paired with artisanal cheeses that the restaurant rotates monthly.

A Look Ahead
When asked about the hotel’s plans for the future, Nagesvaran is excited about a bevy of upcoming changes that will continue to position the hotel as a premier reference point for the Sofitel brand in New York and globally. “Renovations to the hotel are definitely top of mind for long and short term, she said. “We have plans to renovate the lobby, bringing a modern and contemporary feel to the space. Updates will also be made to Gaby Brasserie and Gaby Bar. In the long term we’re looking at room renovations.”

Sofitel New York has it all with world class service, well-appointed accommodations and an array of on-site amenities, but what truly sets this hotel apart is the authentic cultural character expressed in art, style, food, drink, and that certain je ne sais quoi only the French can deliver.

Sofitel New York: Parisian Chic in the City
Photo Ownership/Copyright Credit: Sofitel

“The Luxe List” Executive Editor

marileenMerilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

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Let’s be honest, today’s trend-focused teens can be hard to please. Sure, well-intended gifters can play it safe and go the gift card route but, in addition to these cards being decidedly boring to receive, they’re also easily lost and often forgotten. Some teens even trade them with friends for cash of lesser value, which is certainly not the desired result for the gift-giver.  This year, take heed…it’s easier than you think to give the teen or tween in your life something “cool” and on-trend that will elicit their elusive accolades. Here are a few great ideas.

Alpinestars Jetlag Sound Disk beanie 2 credit alpinestars

Alpinestars Jetlag Sound Disk Beanie (www.Alpinestars.com) - $44.95
In collaboration with Aerial 7, the Alpinestars Sound Series is the integration of sound and sport through the combination of advanced technology with stylish, on-point apparel. For example, the company’s Jetlag Sound Disk Beanie features built in earbuds making it a fashion-forward way to keep the head warm and still be able to listen to high quality music output. Alpinestars Jetlag Sound Disk Beanie is designed to offer a perfect knit hat fit that also boasts adjustable speaker placement. In fact, the removable ultra-slim sound disk speakers are designed for comfort without sacrificing the music experience. This Beanie, available in blue and burgundy, also features a built-in microphone for use with iPhone or Blackberry. Alpinestars has outfitted countless world champions past and present and produces the highest level of performance and protective footwear and apparel. This boss beanie is case in point.

Nemesis Mens Brown Roman Numerals Watch with Brown Leather Cuff Band 1 credit Overstock.com  1 MAINNeimesis Womens Trendy Oversized Brown Leather Watch 1 credit Overstock.com 

Nemesis Leather Cuff Watches (www.Overstock.com) - $46 - $52Keep your teen on time and on trend with a leather cuff watch, which is are all the rage right now. These timepieces make an edgy fashion statement and are practical to boot. Whether dressed up or down, a cuff watch can be that statement jewelry piece that commands all of the attention. Overstock.com carries many leather cuff watch designs but one of my favorites suitable for teens is the Nemesis Men's Brown Roman Numerals Watch with Brown Leather Cuff Band.  This watch features a brown background with silver dials while a 1.5" wide brown leather strap and steel alloy case finish this trendy timepiece. Movement is Japanese quartz and water resistance is 10 ATM/100 meters/330 feet. For gals, I love the somewhat similar . With its brown leather cuff and contemporary Arabic numerals, this timepiece will add modern style to any outfit. The polished alloy case gives this watch added shine and durability. Like the men's watch, movement is Japanese quartz and water resistance is 10 ATM/100 meters/330 feet.

 Seventeen Holiday Collection 3 credit Sears.com Seventeen Seventeen Holiday Collection 1 credit Sears.com Seventeen  Seventeen Holiday Collection 2 credit Sears.com Seventeen 






Seventeen Magazine Fashions (
www.Sears.com) – Up to $50
Teen and tween girls will simply love fashions from Seventeen Magazine’s collection that’s available at Sears—perfect pieces for those girls wanting to warm up with the hottest styles. The line is bursting with stylish and playful looks, including super-cute sweaters and funky footwear well-suited for the holiday season. Being a premier teen style authority for the past 70 years, Seventeen’s holiday collection is sure to satisfy any trendy girl’s wish list as well as the gifter’s budget, since each piece retails for $50 or less. From stylish surprises to stocking stuffers, the full holiday collection includes apparel, accessories, footwear, handbags, and jewelry girls can easily wear from the early months of fall straight into the holiday season and beyond.

Big Feet Pajamas 1 credit Big Feet Pajama Co  Big Feet Pajamas 2 credit Big Feet Pajama Co 

Big Feet Pajamas (www.BigFeetPJs.com) - $16-$50
Footed PJs have made a comeback in recent years and no company does it better than Big Feet Pajamas—a trusted brand with over 340,000 Facebook Fans. This company’s flannel onesies for teens and adults, alike, are made of 100% cotton flannel and are double-brushed for added softness and comfort. These pajamas button up the front and have non-slip soles. They even have a fun, drop-seat option! Also available are uber-soft fleece footed pajamas that are made of 100% micro-polar fleece that’s durable enough to last until the teen outgrows them. The fleece fabric this company uses is said to be higher quality than other fleece pajamas and will not pill when taken out of the dryer, so they’ll always look and feel great. These pajamas also button up the front and have non-slip soles, and are available with or without the drop seat. Both flannel and fleece are available in nine colors and fun prints.

 CanvasPop canvas prints 1 credit CanvasPop CanvasPop canvas prints 2 credit CanvasPop   CanvasPop canvas prints 3 credit CanvasPop

CanvasPop Canvas Prints (www.CanvasPop.com) - Starting at $30
Have a photograph or cool graphic image that would make fantastic canvas wall art? Here’s the perfect solution: CanvasPop. You can print any photo or picture onto canvas, even turning tiny Instagram, Facebook and iPhone photos into big, bold and beautiful wall art. CanvasPop is a quick and easy way to get photos off of a device and onto your teen’s walls. CanvasPop uses the highest quality materials and every print is hand-crafted in the USA. It always arrives ready to hang—the package even includes the nail! CanvasPop was reportedly the first company to print Instagram photos as canvas prints, and utilizes their proprietary technology to ensure even small, low-resolution images can be a stunning décor addition. You can even work one-on-one with a personal designer from the company to ensure your print is perfect. CanvasPop also offers a 100% lifetime guarantee on its products.

Selfie The Game of Silly Expressions 1 credit USAopoly  Selfie The Game of Silly Expressions Images 2 credit USAopoly 

Selfie, The Game of Silly Expressions (www.USAopoly.com) - $14.95
What does your Selfie Say? Find out with Selfie–The Game of Silly Expressions. Draw a card, take a selfie, then watch as your friends and family guess your expression. The favorite guess gets a point and the player with the most points at the end wins. Make a silly face and SAY CHEESE because today is the day to play and share with #theselfiegame. This 4-player game is great for parties, sleep-overs and get-togethers with friends for ages 13 years and up. A 20-minute quick play time means there's always time for a Selfie!


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***




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4 Courtesy Hilton Hotels  ResortsMany hotels are making strides to go green with eco-friendly practices, but one has been a pioneer on the hospitality “green scene”: the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Having commenced its earth-friendly program in 2007, this property is well ahead of other hotels and resorts that are just dipping their toe into the social responsibility pool. Even so, this property continues to expand its cadre of eco-friendly features, raising the bar ever higher with the hope others will follow its lead.
Sustainability practices, aside, this 374-suite resort proffers a vacation paradise for leisure travelers. Located in the exclusive enclave of North Beach in the center of the famed Fort Lauderdale strip, this 4-Diamond, award-winning Hilton property boasts many features that make it a standout among the copious accommodations options on Fort Lauderdale Beach. These include the largest suites with full-size modern kitchens, wrap-around ocean- and Intracoastal-view balconies, and Italian marble floors as well as handsomely-appointed studios and guest rooms. The resort’s amenities include leading-edge technology and meeting facilities, an infinity pool with 25,000 square foot Sunrise Pool Terrace replete with poolside cabanas, beach access, a fitness center, luxurious spa, on-site ocean-front cuisine and 24-hour room service. The resort is located close to popular city attractions like the Everglades National Park and The Galleria Mall while also being situated close to a bevy of water sports.
In sharing what sets the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort apart, Brigette Bienvenu, the property’s Director of Sales and Marketing, noted, “It is unique in its level of service and guest experience. Also, we have the best rooms in Fort Lauderdale Beach in terms of size, amenities, and the contemporary, yet residential, style. Our innovative trendsetting sustainability initiatives promote education and inspire eco-friendly practices for our industry and among our guests.”
A true inspiration is, indeed, the hotel’s burgeoning sustainability initiatives. Since it opened in 2007, it has been committed to energy savings. Setting a high standard from its start, this property was the first Fort Lauderdale beach hotel to be designated a Florida Green Lodging destination.
Continuing its legacy of going above and beyond local regulations, in January 2014 this resort voluntarily installed six wind turbines at a cost of $700,000 to help reduce energy consumption from sources that deplete natural resources. These commanding turbines are located on the resort’s rooftop to achieve the maximum wind velocity for the greatest amount of power generation possible. These turbines provide enough renewable energy to light the building year-round.
Other noteworthy initiatives spearheaded by the property’s “Green Team” committee include programs related to waste reduction, energy efficiency, and resource conservation. The programs involve an environ pure composter to compost up to 900 pounds of food waste each day to avoid adding to the local landfills. A guestroom linen and towel program encourages guests to assist the hotel in being eco-friendly by hanging towels to reuse and having bed sheets changed out every three days on extended stays rather than every day. The hotel also has windows that use manufactured tinted glass to protect the interior of the building from sun exposure, which also helps to reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling.
To further identify areas that could be improved, the resort utilizes "LightStay,” which is a proprietary system utilized by the resort’s Green Team to analyze and track the property’s sustainability performance.  This system is used by the entire Hilton chain, setting a precedent in the hospitality industry as no other brand has implemented sustainability initiatives to this degree throughout its portfolio.
Always seeking to push the eco-envelope, more green objectives are planned, including a Tesla charging station allowing Tesla electric vehicle owners to receive a high-speed charge—less than an hour. To further elevate the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort’s image in terms of its focus on sustainability and to educate the community, Ms. Bienvenu explained the property will continue its property sustainability tours, which are conducted weekly for guests, local residents, and schools. The tour includes a look at all the resort’s initiatives, including the rooftop wind turbines, the property’s tinted windows, and the composter.
What’s ahead for the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort? According to Ms. Bienvenu, future plans include the addition of two unique venues to provide an array of culinary and entertainment options both for hotel guests and local residents. In the summer of 2014, the property will open a new outdoor venue and lounge that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean for private receptions or daily fun in the sun with music, an outdoor bar, and culinary options. A little further out, in early 2015, a new sky bar and lounge will open.  With this, the resort will be the tallest building to have a rooftop venue on Fort Lauderdale beach.
With a contemporary beach ambiance, 4-Diamond service, residential creature comforts, priceless views and an unsurpassed sustainability program, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort exemplifies green luxury travel and is doing more than its fair share to convey how, together, everyone can make a difference in the planet’s well-being.

Photos: Courtesy Hilton Hotels & Resorts


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

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By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

Holiday travel is tough enough in the best of circumstances and is all-too-often fraught with challenges, including crowded freeways, overbooked flights, Wi-Fi downtime and generally not having necessary items at hand. While on-the-go, trying to look stylish, feel good, remain safe, and comfortably tote important belongings around is often harder than it needs to be. Relief and assists are readily available as exemplified by the following collection of handy travel helpers—all of which will help keep the happy in your holidays.

1 MAINATT Unite for GoPhone mobile hotspot 1 credit WiFi Family

AT&T Unite for GoPhone Mobile Hotspot - (www.att.com) - $99.99
When traveling, there are times when WiFi access is essential and you don’t want to be limited to just the network configured with your phone, laptop or other device.  Or, perhaps your network is unavailable, leaving you in a lurch.  To better ensure you have connectivity when needed, consider the AT&T Unite for GoPhone—a mobile hotspot device that connects to AT&T's wireless network and turns that wireless connection into a WiFi hotspot. The AT&T Unite provides *secure* internet access for multiple tablets, laptops, iPod Touches, phones and other WiFi devices. It works just like a WiFi hotspot at a coffee shop or at home, except it goes where you go. With no annual contract or credit check, you can simply buy data when you need it so you can stay connected to the Internet while you’re out and about.

Solo Active Universal Tablet Sling 1 credit Courtesy of Solo  Solo Active Universal Tablet Sling 2 credit Courtesy of Solo  Solo Active Universal Tablet Sling 3 credit Courtesy of Solo 
 Solo Executive UNIVERSAL FIT Tablet Padfolio 1 credit Courtesy of Solo  Solo Executive UNIVERSAL FIT Tablet Padfolio 3 credit Courtesy of Solo  200

Solo Executive UNIVERSAL FIT Tablet Padfolio and
Solo Active Universal Tablet Sling (
www.Solo.net) - $32.99 - $69.99
As you travel, you need a case that’s as ambitious and hardworking as you are. Solo bags and cases certainly fit the bill, offering that coveted combination of performance, style and quality.  Two great options are the Executive UNIVERSAL FIT Tablet Padfolio featuring patent pending technology—a proprietary tension clip design—to assure a secure hold.  The “universal” nature of this case provides flexibility to use the same case for countless brands and models of tablets and eReaders like all generations of the iPad and others by Samsung. With a handsome full grain leather body, this Padfolio also contains slip pockets for important papers, a pocket for business cards, a pen loop and zip around closure. Another fantastic ubiquitous option for wrangling your tablet or eReader is Solo’s Active Universal Tablet Sling, which is also compatible with all iPad generations as well as Samsung tablets. The durable case features a padded, adjustable sling strap for over-the-shoulder convenience and has a removable clip to facilitate left or right side use. The lightweight bag also has a padded compartment to protect all tablets and eReaders up to 10.2” and a zip down organizer section.

JILL-E Leather Career Bag 1 credit Jill-e Designs    JILL-E Leather Career Bag 2 credit Jill-e Designs    JILL-E Leather Career Bag 3 credit Jill-e Designs 

JILL-E Leather Career Bag (www.Jill-E.com) - $189.99
The Jill-e Career Bag is a high-performance professional carry bag that's as suitable in the boardroom as it is on the town. Made with genuine leather, this chic carrier protects devices and other contents while providing the professional look and beautiful feel of top quality leather. The padded interior laptop pouch includes a strap to securely protect a 12" laptop or a tablet device. Organization is assured by dedicated pockets for smartphones, pens, sunglasses, cards, etc. The interior of the bag also features an additional zippered pocket for storing personal items. The JILL-E Leather Career Bag also features a removable shoulder strap, as well as comfortable handles with an 8.5 " drop.

 Topricin Foot Therapy Cream 1 credit topricin

Topricin Foot Therapy Cream (www.Topricin.com) - $16.95 - $24.95
Traveling is tough on the body and can be particularly hard on your feet. From running through the airport to catch a flight to taking one tour after another, our feet get quite the workout. This can result in aches and pains that can even ruin an experience. For this reason, consider packing Topricin Foot Therapy Cream. This handy travel companion is specially formulated with 14 natural medicines in an odorless, greaseless, moisturizing base to soothe and relieve foot and ankle aches, pains, cramps, and injuries. When you apply Topricin to the legs, ankles and feet before air travel, it quickly maximizes the body’s healing and repairing process keeping you comfortable the entire flight! Also safe for Diabetics, Topricin Foot Therapy is free of parabens, petroleum, counter-irritants, and other harsh chemicals, and is patented for the treatment of pain associated with neuropathy. Apply the crème before wearing high-heels for a great post-pedicure treatment. Made in the U.S.A., all Topricin products are federally-regulated over-the-counter medicines with no known side effects.


Spoiled Naturally Lotion Bar (www.SpoiledNaturally.com) - $8.50
Travel, especially air travel, can be quite dehydrating and keeping skin soft, smooth and healthy can be a challenge. But, consider re-thinking your approach to how you hydrate your skin, as there are more natural and decidedly neater alternatives to chemical-filled creams and messy lotions. One great option are the Solid Lotion Bars by Spoiled Naturally. Shaped like a bar of soap, Spoiled Naturally’s Solid Lotion Bars are designed with ease, convenience and well-being in mind. Just rub the bar lightly on your skin and your body heat with melt just enough of it to allow you to rub it onto your hands and skin. It absorbs quickly, penetrating the dermis to help keep your skin soft and smooth for hours. The bar form allows you to utilize every the last drop and the convenient carrying case will let you hydrate on-the-go without the threat of spills. Because it’s not a liquid, it’s also TSA friendly! Wherever you're heading, carry a Spoiled Naturally bar to keep your skin silky smooth. The company offers various fragrances such as pineapple strawberry, chocolate strawberry and lemongrass.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30 1 credit Colorescience

Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush (www.ColoreScience.com) - $52
Getting from point A to point Z, and everywhere in between, often requires a good deal of sun exposure and it’s important to keep your facial skin protected to avoid skin damage. Of course, you also want to put your best face forward makeup-wise to stay fresh looking all throughout the day or night. Here’s a product that has you covered on all fronts. The Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush easily fits in your purse, making it an ideal holiday travel beauty tool. With it, you’ll stay protected from sun damage and its aging effects while benefitting from the make up’s soft focus finish. This Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush has SPF 30 that provides safe, non-irritating UVA and UVB sun protection, while the self-dispensing powder brush makes it easy to apply and re-apply throughout the day or night for continual coverage. This product is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and also refillable.

Shave Well Travel Mirror 1 credit The Shave Well Company  Shave Well Travel Mirror 3 credit The Shave Well Company  Shave Well Travel Mirror 2 credit The Shave Well Company     

Shave Well Travel Mirror (www.Amazon.com) - $9.99
Guys, when you're away from home the last thing you want to do is be slowed down by shaving—or inconveniences and complications related thereto. I know many men prefer to shave in the shower because it’s more comfortable, and also because the warm water relaxes your hair follicles, making shaving quicker and easier to perform. With the portable Shave Well Travel Mirror, you can still shave in the shower even when you’re not in your own home. In addition to being non-breakable, lightweight and easy to affix to any shower surface, this cool tool is also fog-free. In the few seconds you hold it under the shower spray, the temperature of the moist air and the mirror equalize to create a long lasting, truly fog free image for the duration of your shower. No more temperature difference—no more annoying fog. The benefits are crystal clear.


Carmex Moisture Plus (www.MyCarmex.com) - $2.99
No matter what the season or the reason you’re out and about, healthy lips are always in style! With four super cute, fashion-focused patterns on the product’s exterior, Carmex Moisture Plus lip balm makes it easy and stylish to moisturize on-the-go. Each charming stick is made with aloe, vitamin E and shea butter to provide extreme moisture that’ll keep your pout pretty for an extended period of time. Of course, Carmex products are always gluten-free and never tested on animals. Also eco-conscious, since 2010 Carmex has used 20 percent less plastic in its containers that has reduced their plastic use by 70,000 pounds annually. With Carmex, you can keep your lips soft and revel in using a socially conscious product as you jaunt to and fro.

 Little Viper fashion pepper spray bracelet 1 credit Caroline Olah     Little Viper fashion pepper spray bracelet 2 credit Caroline Olah      Little Viper fashion pepper spray bracelet 3 credit Caroline Olah 

Little Viper fashion pepper spray bracelet (www.LittleViper.com) - $19.99
Travel with confidence this holiday season with your own personal safety chaperone: Little Viper—the world's FIRST and ONLY fashion pepper spray self-defense bracelet. While extremely lightweight, weighing in at only one ounce, Little Viper packs a peppery punch. The inconspicuous bracelet contains 10% OC pepper spray that offers 3-6 bursts with a full 3' range—no need to remove the bracelet to use it, so it’s always at-the-ready. Other pepper sprays on the market are only advantageous if you are carrying them in your hand. The Little Viper is an adjustable bracelet you can wear any time without having to even think about it. Little Viper is one size fits most, 8.5" long, and made from comfortable adjustable silicone. It has a fashionable, low-profile design so nobody will know you're carrying, albeit wearing, pepper spray.


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***


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01 MAIN Hamilton Cove Community Courtesy CIVR SMAs a revered Southern California getaway destination for couples, friends, and families, alike, Catalina Island offers that perfect vacation combination of natural beauty, fun activities, divine dining and accommodation options replete with amenities. 

Located just 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, a quick boat ride—only 90 minutes via the Catalina Express out of Dana Point—will put you on this island paradise. Once there, Catalina Island offers 76 square miles of pristine beaches as well as forest and mountainous terrain where you can enjoy everything from sunning seaside, to submarine sightseeing and fishing, to seal and porpoise watching to zip-lining, shopping, and exciting Jeep excursions. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just need some long-overdue R&R or together time with loved ones, this island is an optimal destination.
While there are many types of accommodations to choose from on Catalina Island, not everyone wants a standard hotel room—particularly those who are looking for more space and residential-type creature comforts. One company that helps match visitors with the exact type of accommodation they desire is Catalina Island Vacation Rentals Company (CIVR). They have a robust portfolio of nearly 200 unique rental properties around the island that include tastefully decorated cottages, homes, and condos like the spectacular oceanfront villa rentals in the Hamilton Cove community just outside of Avalon.

Along with the unsurpassed full-frontage ocean views with the surrounding island foliage and mountains beyond, the Hamilton Cove villas provide all the comforts of home. That’s because they are actual condominium residences that private owners rent out through CIVR when not in use. This offers vacationers a great alternative to a hotel room, especially when you have a family or larger group and would benefit from key amenities like a full kitchen to save on the cost of eating out multiple times a day, multiple full-size bathrooms and bedrooms, separate living room (with pull out sofa) and bedrooms for greater privacy, wood-burning fireplace, free Wi-Fi and, in many units, additional personal leisure-time touches like satellite TV, board games and books.

Most of the properties also include laundry facilities to keep that suitcase fresh as well as housekeeping services that can be arranged by request in addition to the initial complimentary start-up service applied before your arrival. All of this is proffered amid expansive ocean and spectacular sunrise views accentuated by the sound of waves crashing on the shore just below the open-air wrap-around balcony. Notably, CIVR also includes a golf cart with every villa rental as this only way to travel around the island.

Because Hamilton Cove is a private community only accessible to those staying at the location, there are additional amenities that are only accessible to guests. These include croquet, tennis, pool, tub, and a private beach.

Booking a private villa or condo on Catalina Island, whether at Hamilton Cove or otherwise, could not be easier. For its part, CIVR is an excellent option for booking these private and spacious accommodations due to its high level of customer service coupled with the company’s easy-to-use Web portal. Among other details, this Web site provides guests with the features and benefits of each villa as well as information regarding points of interest and local sights to see. CIVR also employs a highly trained team of reservation agents that can handle any guest questions either by phone or email. Unlike other vacation rental companies on Catalina, CIVR also accepts most major credit cards.
What’s also interesting is that, to ensure the best service possible, the CIVR team lives on the island and considers themselves “always accessible” to guests whether for property-related matters, island information, or recommendations on tours, dining, and other sightseeing adventures.

“Vacation rentals are a great option for travelers [and are] becoming more and more popular as they provide a great experience for vacationing together,” noted Denny Honsey, General Manager of CIVR.  Indeed, having vacationed at Hamilton Cove myself, I can attest that the villa rental experience does lend itself to enjoying more of a local sensibility whereby guests are better immersed in the native culture. And, in addition to fostering a communal dynamic that elevates interactions with family and friends, the residential ambiance also enhances the state of relaxation for guests whose watches are set to “island time.”

Catalina Shopping Courtesy CIVR

Via Casino Way Courtesy CIVR


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this

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While poor posture is long-proven to cause a litany of adverse medical issues, one less tangible yet critical aspect is often overlooked: our personal image. Just look around any public venue and you’ll notice that nearly everyone tends to slouch, making them far less alluring and seemingly less confident than if they were simply sitting up straight. Indeed, those with good posture exude a greater air of elegance, self-assurance, poise and, in a work environment, professionalism and a stronger presence overall.  With these and other benefits of maintaining good posture well in mind, Parisian clothing company UpCouture has developed the “Up T-Shirt”—a revolutionary, fashion-forward line of women’s and men’s posture stabilizing shirts that are as sophisticated as they are salutary.

As the world's first anti-slouching T-shirt, UpCouture’s innovative Up T-Shirt is a modern, chic and stylish improvement over posture-promoting garments of yore, including back braces, corsets, vests and other tops that marginally address society’s enduring droop. However, the Up T-Shirt takes posture apparel to a whole new level.

Thanks to a pioneering patented active mechanism, extra-thin elastic film built in-between organic cotton layers within the Up T-shirt comfortably and gently pushes and maintains the shoulders in a straight position. The effect is more aesthetically pleasing, making the wearer look more composed and even slimmer.

The Up T-Shirt is a marvel of ingenious action melded with modern textile technology and leading edge fashion practices. The extra-thin configuration of elastic bands that are sewn and bonded into the garment proffer the optimal level of pressure, which makes the t-shirt less comfortable to wear when slouching than when maintaining good posture. The shirt doesn’t actually force the wearer's posture into position, which would weaken his or her back muscles, but rather uses an optimal level of pressure to redirect the wearer’s shoulders into the right position when they leave their correct alignment. In addition, Up T-Shirts employ a particularly resilient and high quality form of elastic resistance that encourages better posture without degrading over time. And, the Up T-shirt gets even more comfortable as the posture improves. All of this as the rest of the ethically respectful and environment friendly t-shirt’s 92% organic cotton makeup ensures a soft and flexible fit. In fact, Up T-Shirts have earned a GOTS certificate ensuring ethical and organic production standards for the cotton, itself, are adhered to. As fashionable as they are functional, the Up T-Shirts are available in a range of styles and colors for both women and men.

The Up T-shirt line is the brainchild of lawyer Neda Naef, CEO of UpCouture, who was working most of the day at the computer and longed for a more empowering posture. Naef never had any back problems or pains, but was concerned about the non-aesthetic appearance caused by her slouching. Naef was a fitness enthusiast and in great physical shape, so she felt that if she herself had trouble maintaining good posture through the day, then a great number of other people probably have the problem. In fact, Naef noticed that bad posture was rampant throughout society.

“Whether people are sitting at the computer or using their handheld devices, standing at the bus stop, or simply moving through a day's routine, most have poor posture—some to an extent that seems debilitating and most certainly does not enhance their appeal or attractiveness.” Naef notes.

In attempting to solve the problem, Naef found devices that would either uncomfortably and inefficiently compress the torso, or just have no effect at all. She began studying the physiological mechanisms that promote optimal posture and, with that knowledge, she began a lengthy R&D process to facilitate those mechanisms through an elastic resistance, activated by the natural movement of one’s arms. Once perfected, the unique double-8 mechanism of elastic resistance she created was then merged with beautiful fashions that would resonate with today’s style savvy marketplace. The result is the ground-breaking Up T-Shirt line that has amassed devotees around the globe. In fact, UpCouture’s proprietary mechanism has been acknowledged as being completely new, having been accepted for international patent without any restriction.

"Rather than focusing on what are valid medical and health benefits of good posture, our goal is to offer beautiful, fashion-forward d garments that not only foster a feeling of wellness the entire length of time it’s worn, but also enhance the wearer’s presence, presentation and manner in a way no other piece of apparel can achieve. Back, neck and shoulder pain, or the lack thereof, aside, every adult needs to strive to maintain good posture. The Up T-Shirt is truly a unique fashion fix."

The t-shirt which loves you


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***


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1 MAIN Casino - Topper Courtesy Hard Rock Cafe International smAs of May 2014 ten years will have passed since the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened up in Hollywood, Florida. Now with a 96% year-round occupancy rate, an AAA Four-Diamond rating, and an array of accolades, this destination is at the top of its game. Located in the Seminole Tribe territory, the hotel has held true to the tribe’s vision of creating a landmark destination with international appeal that also has a positive economic and social impact on the South Florida community at large. Amid its success, this Hard Rock property—which boasts no less than 700 original pieces of original memorabilia—continues to add new features and enhance those existing, like ramping up its VIP program to ensure participating guests are treated like rock-and-roll royalty.  

Heading up this exalted VIP experience is Samantha Cox, the hotel’s Director of VIP Services, who’s unofficially known as the Ultimate “Go-To” Girl. Her mandate is to facilitate special requests to ensure the most memorable VIP guest experiences possible. And, options abound. From shaking hands with Al Pacino to private concerts with the likes of Stevie Wonder to meet and greets with Dr. Mehmet Oz, Samantha, who formerly served as personal executive assistant to Virgin Group chairman and founder Sir Richard Branson, makes it happen.

While the Hard Rock brand boasts 180 different types of venues in 55 countries, this particular Hard Rock is a flagship location—the one-and-only property that has all of the elements for an utterly complete Hard Rock experience. That means it’s the lone Hard Rock that offers hotel accommodations, a casino, a Hard Rock Live theater for entertainment, a Hard Rock Café for bites and beverages, a Rock Shop and retail shopping district, tropical pool oasis, convention center with ballrooms, Rock Spa for pampering,  and one of South Florida’s most exhilarating nightlife districts.  The convivial confusion here is not what you should do, but rather what you should do first. And, for VIP high rollers, the options for amping up these and other available experiences are seemingly endless.

As would be expected, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has some super cool amenities. One of note is designed as the ultimate outdoor play space for VIPs: the resort’s exclusive, utterly spectacular pool chickee oasis inspired by the DIY Network Man Caves program. This poolside party palace offers 520-square feet of well-appointed paradise that comes complete with its own intimate plunge pool, seven plush lounge chairs, three canopy umbrellas and an oversized wrap-around couch on a lavish private patio that is enveloped in lush, tropical landscaping. And, this special oasis is not short on modern entertainment. It features a state-of-the-art entertainment system that includes a 70” Smart LED HDTV, an iPod dock, and a PlayStation3 with complimentary Wi-Fi. “Man Cave” chickee guests also enjoy a stocked refrigerator, a wet bar, table seating for six, a personal safe to store belongings, a secluded shower, cooling misters and a remote-controlled glass fireplace. Of course, this space wouldn’t be complete without a personal butler and a dedicated Beach Club attendant.

To sustain the resort’s standards of excellence, they are continually looking for other unique ways to elevate the on-site experience for VIPs. Towards this end, the property has also added specialized wine-pairing dinners at its signature Council Oak Steak & Seafood restaurant, and offers top tournament play at the casino, including blackjack, slots, and record-breaking guaranteed poker events. Another exciting amenity for VIPs is “The Dinner Series” at the resort’s Chef’s Table, an exclusive private dining experience where one of the talented Hard Rock Chefs designs and prepares a three-course menu “live” in the resort’s culinary workshop.   The Chef’s Table dinner is a unique experience that offers guests a more intimate setting.

Of course, music is the central theme of what the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino embodies. Through the destination’s VIP Series program, they transform Hard Rock Live from a traditional entertainment arena into a luxurious space with a fun atmosphere to deliver intimate concerts with some of the most popular artists and pop-culture icons. Past concerts have featured Lionel Richie, Brian Wilson, and Jeff Beck.
The overarching VIP strategy is the cornerstone of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s steadfast focus on increasing customer loyalty. The hotel is making great strides to reward both frequent and high-caliber guests.  That’s where Samantha comes in. After all, she understands that, to feel like a rock star, guests have to know their special requests will be met…no matter what. In keeping with the resort’s VIP service-oriented vision, Samantha aims to say “yes” as often as possible.

1 MAIN Casino - Topper Courtesy Hard Rock Cafe International sm Casino - Blackjack Dealer  Courtesy Hard Rock Cafe International 1
Winners Way Garage at Seminole Hard Rock Courtesy Hard Rock Cafe International Memo - Guitars over Beatles Quote Courtesy Hard Rock Cafe International


marileen"The Luxe List" Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***


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For a foodie, eating isn't just about filling the proverbial tank it's about stirring the senses and satiating the soul. It's about sourcing the best ingredients and the perfect way to prepare and present them. For a passionate epicurean, there's nothing like having the right kitchen tool for the job at hand. For this sect, killer kitchenware is more than a luxury—it’s fundamental. With this in mind, enjoy this tasty buffet of gastronome gadgets and gear sure to satisfy.

Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch 1 credit JURA Inc.-1

Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch (www.us.Jura.com) - $1,399
For those who are truly serious about their java and can’t live without a high caliber cappuccino, the Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch is a dream. Cappuccino and other tasty coffee beverages are just one touch away with this automatic coffee center, which was named “Best of the Best—Silver” and “Best in Category” in the 2013 Housewares Design Awards. Also space savvy, the Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch is the world’s smallest one-touch automatic cappuccino machine, featuring a new micro brewing unit and Jura’s fine foam technology to assure delectable crema coffee, espresso, latte macchiato and more. Jura’s famed fine foam technology froths or steams milk with a feather-light consistency. The Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch also includes a built-in burr grinder, rotary switch and height adjustable dual spout.

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Harley Pasternak Power Blender (www.Salton.com) - $249.99
Perfectionist foodie’s will love Salton’s Power Blender by Harley Pasternak, a Fitness & Nutrition Guru to the Hollywood Stars and New York Times Best-Selling Author. Complete with an 8-Blade Blending System, this power blender’s stainless steel blades blends, crushes, emulsifies, chops, purées, liquefies whole fruits and vegetables, ice, frozen fruit, nuts and other foodstuffs with Japanese precision. The two quart BPA free Tritan jar features a unique cloverleaf shape that creates a vortex, which eliminates pockets of unblended food. This combination of features make it easy to prepare beverages as well as hot foods, including soups and sauces, in minutes. In addition, each Harley Pasternak Power Blender comes with a Harley-approved color recipe book.

Juicepresso 1 credit Juicepresso-1

Juicepresso (www.JuicepressoUSA.com) - $499.99Taking cold press juicers to the next level is Juicepresso–a sleeker, easier-to-clean machine with a patented one-piece extraction system that reduces moving parts, is dishwasher safe, and makes using a juicer use easier than ever. Users enjoy all the benefits of cold press juicing–including 40% more juice volume, 72-hour juice life and a bigger nutritional punch than centrifugal juicers–along with the smallest footprint and lowest maintenance of any in-home slow juicer on the market. Juicepresso’s unique three-in-one extractor system merges the auger, strainer and rotating brush components that do the heavy lifting of a cold press juicer into a single, easy-to-clean, BPA-free unit.

Magic Chef 28-Bottle Wine Cooler 1 credit Magic Chef.jpg-1

Magic Chef 28-Bottle Wine Cooler (www.HomeDepot.com) - $199.00
The Magic Chef 28-Bottle Wine Cooler is a freestanding, classically designed and fully equipped device that adds a sleek and sophisticated look to any kitchen and is a perfect gift idea for the wine aficionado in your life. The cooler’s exterior consists of a sleek black cabinet and elegant door frame, while the interior features six removable chrome racks that secure the wine bottles into place. White illumination stage lighting showcases the entire bottle collection. This device features a thermoelectric cooling system that chills wine quickly and quietly to the desired temperature between 54° – 66° F), set with an easy touch electronic control panel and digital display. The Magic Chef 28-Bottle Wine Cooler also has an auto-defrost feature. It also comes with a one-year warranty.


Rabbit Wine-Chilling Carafe (www.Metrokane.com) - $50.00
White or rosé wine from the fridge can lose its chill and taste appeal rather quickly. In an 80 degree environment, wine can seem too warm in just 15 minutes or less. With the Rabbit Wine-Chilling Carafe, wine drinkers can enjoy a bottle of chilled wine at leisure—for 90 minutes or more. The Rabbit Wine-Chilling Carafe keeps wine cool in a natural way with no plastic ice chamber and no freezable chemicals. It’s a highly effective chilling carafe because the stainless ice chamber is an extremely efficient cold-transfer material that is far superior to glass or plastic. This carafe holds a full 750 ml bottle, and its beautiful design brings a touch of elegance to serving wine both indoors or out.

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austoaLuxurious spas are de rigueur at any high end resort. However, the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort takes the integrative spa and fitness experience to an impressive level. Arizona’s stark beauty provides a stunning backdrop for this revered retreat—a behemoth 65-acre sanctuary neighboring the Sonoran Desert with the McDowell Mountains in view beyond.

The initial approach to this property, which is Arizona’s longest running AAA Five Diamond hotel—24 years to date, is like happening upon a desert oasis replete with picturesque palm trees, lush landscaping and cascading fountain beckoning guests into the resort’s front entrance. Mere milliseconds after I drove into the covered valet I was greeted by the property’s resident “cowboy,” offering me and my guests cold water and a warm welcome. No surprise given the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort is well-known for its award-winning service.

On this aspect of the experience Pam Gilbert, the property’s Director of Sales and Marketing, underscores an impressive point that most of Guest Services/Bell Stand team has been at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for at least 10 years, if not 20 or more and prides themselves on offering personalized service—often getting to know returning guests by name. She cites that the resort’s Director of Guest Services, Thomas Williams, was named “Outstanding Manager of the Year” by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association and went on to win the national award from the American Hotel & Lodging Association in Washington, D.C.

And so my vacation began. After regarding the resort’s gorgeous Spanish architecture from the outside, now a neutral beige versus the princess pink exterior of yore, it was time to settle in to my accommodations. There are ten different types of room options at this property that start with the simple yet meticulously detailed 525-square foot Fairmont room appropriately decorated in Southwestern décor. On the high end, the property boasts a 2,100-square foot Presidential suite complete with a living/parlor area that seats six, two bathrooms, a 600-square foot bedroom and a covered patio among other inducements. Also available are stand-alone Casita Suites, 850-square foot versions of beautifully appointed Spanish Colonial estates. The separate living and sleeping areas are a boon for families or those on a working vacation, and the gas fireplace sets a more romantic mood for couples in the winter months. The wet bar with Nespresso machine and the 42″ LG flat screen television are crowd pleasers for all. The Casita area of the resort features its own private pool area with Jacuzzi, which makes staying in these detached dwellings perfect for those who truly want to get away from it all.

Photo Ownership/Copyright Credit: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Photo Ownership/Copyright Credit: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

But, no matter where on the property guests stay, beauty abounds. According to Gilbert, the resort grounds are one of the hallmarks that set this property apart. Sonoran Desert cactus blends with lily pad lagoons, a fragrance garden and a “living wall” of flowers. With the desert flora comes local fauna, the most popular of which is Cecil—a desert tortoise with his own habitat where guests can feed, touch and otherwise ogle this gentle creature. Bunnies, blue heron, ducks, fish and water turtles are other on-site inhabitants that guests will likely see during their visit. For youngsters, the resort offers a Trailblazers Kids Club where children will meet the mascot, a bearded dragon named Skittles, plus see spiders and snakes kept in aquariums.

With bags unpacked and having soaked in my surroundings, it was time to focus on what I really wanted to do at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: hit the spa! Well & Being is an expansive on-site destination spa that bills itself as one that “embraces a foundation of whole health, inspiring guests to be healthy, balanced and a more energetic version of themselves,” which is achieved by delivering a “personal and sustainable wellness program to guests who wish to incorporate optimal health and lifestyle choices with guidance before, during and long after they leave the resort setting.” I aimed to see for myself how these laudable yet lofty goals would be achieved.
It turns out that Well & Being fuses health, wellness, nutrition, integrative medicine, cutting edge fitness classes, advanced skincare and personal care to offer an exceedingly broad range of innovative spa experiences that suit any guest’s needs or wants.

For those seeking to get, or stay, in shape while in Scottsdale, one great option is the individualized “Fitness Prescription” program. It starts with a consultation with the resort’s resident exercise physiologist who performs a fitness assessment and risk analysis and discusses fitness goals, lifestyle and exercise preferences. The assessment includes three diagnostics: the BodPod, the Body Gem and the Fit Mate Pro. Quite notably, the BodPod measures body composition of fat versus lean muscle tissue while the Body Gem measures resting metabolic rate. The Fit Mate Pro is also extremely comprehensive, measuring maximum oxygen uptake, anaerobic uptake, anaerobic threshold predictions, individual training zones, strength and stamina. Wellness Coaching and Nutrition Consultation services are also available.
When you’re ready to sweat, there are any number of compelling options: Aerial Hammock Yoga, Pilates, spinning, body sculpting, Zumba, TRX and CrossFit to name a few. There is also themed programming by SICFIT and Krank Fusion. Of course, there is a fully stocked fitness center with all of the free weights, Nautilus and cardio equipment one would need to achieve health goals, whether that be to build strength and stamina or slim down. Staff fitness pros are readily available for group or one-on-one instruction.

After the fitness and nutrition endeavors, it’s a must to indulge in some relaxing spa therapy. The facilities and services offered at Well & Being are truly world class, comprehensive and rife with creature comforts that include an open air rooftop adult pool with private cabanas, co-ed grotto waterfall for the ultimate natural massage, Health Spa Cuisine and beverage services available inside the garden atrium or poolside, a wet steam room, eucalyptus inhalation room, Swedish dry sauna, hot therapeutic whirlpool, cold plunge pool and a Swiss shower. In addition to the full range of traditional spa services you would expect, such as massage, salon services, skin care, and body wraps, the resort also offers acupuncture and acupressure.

If outdoor activity is more your thing, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort also boasts a famed TPC Scottsdale Stadium Golf Course, which is home to the Annual PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open (closed for renovations until November 2014), and the Champions Course. Or, the concierge can arrange any kind of excursion to get your adrenaline flowing, including bike riding, rock climbing, hiking and more.

Of course, no spa-driven sabbatical is complete without some nutritious and delicious eats. Luckily, the resort features a Healthy Cuisine menu that serves up fitness-driven fare both day and night. Offerings include made-to-order smoothies, breakfast items like house-made granola, and lunch and dinner dishes like Grilled Shrimp & Edamame Succotash, Black Bean & Quinoa Burger, and Poached Atlantic Salmon. Healthy eating options are offered at the spa café, at any of the property’s pools, or for in-room dining so there’s no excuse not to stay the dietary course. When you are ready to indulge a bit, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort does offer some incredible dining options.
Gilbert notes, “Bourbon Steak, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, has a cellar with over 3,000 bottles, a sommelier and a Bar Commander who teaches cocktail classes twice a month. La Hacienda, named #1 Best Mexican Food by Arizona Business Magazine for three consecutive years, has a ‘Tequila Goddess’ who is one of few in the country who traveled to Mexico to be certified as a tequila expert by the Tequila Regulatory Council. La Hacienda also has more than 240 tequilas, including their own private barrels from Herradura.”

Also according to Gilbert, coming this fall the property is introducing and operating a new restaurant concept in conjunction with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval. The restaurant, which will be named Toro, will reside at the TPC Scottsdale, and its launch will coincide with the re-opening.

Having sweat it out on the fitness front, gratified myself on a range of healthy grub, and basked in more than my fair share of spa services, it was time to bid the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort adieu. Sad though that was, I left the property invigorated and ready to get back to the grind of everyday life. With my proverbial batteries recharged, I waved goodbye to that ever-present Guest Services cowboy and rode off into the Scottsdale sunset.

marileen“The Luxe List” Executive Editor

marileenMerilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.LuxeListReviews.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***




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