Special Valentine's Day escape

Baroque Travel offers some serious inspiration for a luxury Valentine’s Day getaway that not only ticks all the boxes for romance, but is also quite unique. Memories are made of these two unique options. Take a look…

 

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and if you haven’t organized anything yet, we have found two extravagant romantic getaways for those couples who prefer something a little different – a touch above the rest.

 

Caribbean escape Obama-style

Barak Obama and his family are currently enjoying a dream holiday on Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson’s private Caribbean escape, Necker Island. You too can live that dream by booking your stay there for Valentine’s Day. The British Virgin island retreat, which is usually only available for exclusive hire (hence its current visitors), hosts a series of ‘Celebration weeks’ during the year. One of these is mid-February, from 7 to 16 February, when couples can book individual rooms on the island over Valentine’s Day.

Home to Sir Richard Branson for more than 30 years, Necker Island’s super-luxe Great House, where you can stay during your romantic retreat, is located in the heart of the island. It’s played host to numerous A-list celebrities and royalty, including the Obama family, who are visiting there currently.

On your romantic getaway you will stay in one of the nine guest rooms (including the master suite) at the Balinese-style Great House, each boasting a balcony with breathtaking ocean and island views and an en suite bathroom. You will also have full use of the facilities on the island, which boasts a beautiful spa, two tennis courts, a zip-wire to the beach and 74 tropical acres of paradise to explore, home to flamingoes, giant tortoises and lemurs.

Activities include a variety of watersports, a choice of two freshwater infinity swimming pools and a Jacuzzi on the beach. There’s also an additional freshwater pool and Jacuzzi at the island’s pool pavilion, plus a rooftop Jacuzzi for four. There’s also a fitness center, snooker table, computers with Internet access, state-of-the-art entertainment system, piano and fully stocked bar. And if you’re in the mood for doing as little as possible, why not laze on a choice of chaise lounges and hammocks on the beach or the terrace?

Of course, all meals are included, as well as airport transfers.

 

Stay in an Irish castle

Built in the early 13th Century, Ashford Castle is a real gem. Completely refurbished and restored to its former glory by Red Carnation Hotels, this magnificent luxury hotel is located on 350 acres of exquisite grounds. Guests enjoy every possible type of outdoor sport, from golf, fishing and falconry to horse riding. With the brand’s superlative service, this hotel has won numerous awards for being one of the best in the world. It’s also a great base from which to explore Connemara, one of Ireland’s wildest and most beautiful areas. A 1-night Valentine’s Night Package is available from 12 to 19 February and includes champagne and roses on arrival, dinner by candlelight in the exquisite fine-dining George V Restaurant. The ultimate Valentine’s getaway? A stay at opulent Hideaway Cottage, an exquisitely furnished old boathouse by the lake on the property. You can’t get more romantic than that.

 

 

Both of these packages offer an unsurpassed romantic escape. Make your choice, then contact Baroque Travel before it’s too late, so that we can book your castle stay or island getaway, info@baroquetravel.com.

Le Grand Bal, New Year’s Eve, Vienna, Austria

A highlight of the social calendar in Vienna every year, Le Grand Bal, the New Year’s Eve Ball, held at the Hofburg Palace, is well worth experiencing. Baroque Access finds out all the details

 

This year’s Grand Bal in Vienna, to be held on 31 December 2016, is themed ‘Rhythm of Vienna’, offering an impressive entertainment program full of fun, dancing, stunning music with big-name bands and orchestras not to mention an unforgettable fireworks display. From the spellbinding opening ceremony onwards, guests will enjoy Vienna’s traditional social end-of-year highlight, which welcomes in the new year. The culmination of the evening is the ringing of the Pummerin bell at St Stephen’s Cathedral.

 

Highlights of Le Grand Bal include the event’s traditional Blue Danube Waltz as well as the legendary public quadrille in the imperial staterooms of the world-renowned Hofburg Palace. And let’s not forget the food. Guests will enjoy gourmet delights during the four-course gala dinner. New Year’s Eve at Le Grand Bal is an occasion to remember for the rest of your life, brimming with laughter, champagne, dancing and music.

 

This New Year’s Eve Ball at Vienna’s former Imperial Winter residence is the start of the ball season in Austria and the rest of Europe, too. Le Grand Bal always features world-famous artists from both the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper Wien, as well as numerous well-known orchestras and bands. Music played ranges from the waltz to jazz.

 

The program for Le Grand Bal never varies much. Doors open for the gala dinner at 6.30pm, and those guests who are only attending the ball get there at 9.15pm. The ball’s captivating program does change annually, and features pieces from various periods of time in the city’s history.

 

This year’s theme, ‘Rhythm of Vienna’ will be steeped in color and music. No doubt the gowns and suits worn will be as elegant and chic as always, and the magical night will be full of exciting experiences, culminating in the countdown to 2017 in the Festsaal at midnight – or, if you prefer, you can go outside to watch the fireworks display above the historic center of Vienna.

 

Full program of events

6.30pm: Gala dinner guests arrive

7pm: Opening of the Grand Staircase

8pm: Gala dinner

9.15pm: Guests arrive for opening of Le Grand Bal

10pm: Opening of the Grand Staircase, featuring soloists from the Vienna State Opera Ballet Association

10.30pm: Opening ceremony in the Festsaal featuring Elmayer dance school debutantes committee

11.58pm: Midnight countdown

Midnight: Ringing of the Pummerin bell, Blue Danube Waltz

00.05am: Midnight show in the Festsaal and Zeremoniensaal, presented by soloists from top opera houses and the Vienna State Ballet.

00.30am and 2.30am: Public quadrille in the Festsaal with the Elmayer dance school.

4am: Conclusion.

 

If you would like to attend the legendary Le Grand Bal, Baroque Access can assist. Just contact us right away, info@baroqueaccess.com and we will help you purchase your tickets, or give you any information you require. If you wish to travel to Vienna for the New Year, or just after, and need travel assistance, our sister company, Baroque Travel, can arrange everything for you. Contact them right away, info@baroquetravel.com.

The premier Christmas dinner in the world – Bracebridge, Yosemite

Why not partake in a time-honored Christmas tradition at Yosemite National Park – the Bracebridge dinner, which has been hosted every December since 1927! Baroque Travel finds out all about it

 

For almost 90 years, visitors have flocked to Yosemite to enjoy the traditional seven-course feast, the Bracebridge dinner at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, which was formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel but was renamed in March this year. This long-standing Christmas tradition involves transforming the hotel’s dining hall into an English manor reminiscent of the 17th Century. Guests are hosted by Squire Bracebridge to a four-hour celebration of all things Yuletide, which includes songs, dancing, acting and lots of pageantry not to mention the awesome dinner feast.

 

Horn-blowing heralds the start of ‘Ye Olde Bracebridge dinner’ at this elegant hotel, and guests enter the lavishly decorated Bracebridge Hall to travel back in time to Christmas time centuries ago, where traditional Old English Yuletide celebrations always included lots of music and glorious food. The manor hall boasts 50-foot ceilings with wooden beams and vast windows offering exquisite views of snow-clad mountains. Inside, guests are warm and cosy, enjoying a festive atmosphere and sumptuous food whilst a splendid selection of around 100 singers and court characters retell the story of Lord Neville Bracebridge and his household.

 

The captivating, lavish Bracebridge dinner is one of the most highly anticipated events in this part of the world. The event is held over a series of nights, not just on Christmas, so that it can accommodate all those who wish to experience the Middle Age Renaissance feast and Yuletide celebrations. This event has always been popular; in fact, in 2006, the Wall Street Journal called it “the country’s, if not the world’s, premier Christmas dinner”.

 

The original pageant on which the Bracebridge dinner is based was written in 1927 by Garnet Holme, but it’s also loosely based on a series of five Christmas stories in The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, Holme’s world-renowned book that also includes numerous famous tales such as ‘Rip van Winkle’ and ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. The Christmas stories are nostalgic, idealized tales of Old English Christmas festivities that take place in an English manor owned by Squire Bracebridge – hence the name of the legendary dinner.

 

The setting for this iconic Christmas feast, The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, is located in the Yosemite Valley in California’s Yosemite National Park. This grand rustic hotel initially opened in 1927, and Bracebridge dinners started the same year. The majestic hotel, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, is the most luxurious establishment in Yosemite National Park and has hosted numerous celebrities, royalty and international politicians. Aside from luxury accommodation, the hotel also offers a decadent sweet shop, comfortable bar and heated outdoor swimming pool. Meals – other than the sensational Bracebridge dinner – are held in the dining room.

The hotel boasts a striking granite façade, massive stone hearths, rich stained glass, colorful Native American artworks and beautifully appointed guest rooms. It’s centrally located, making it an ideal base from which to explore the Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point.

 

If you would like to visit this luxury hotel and enjoy a traditional Bracebridge dinner this December, contact Baroque Travel right away, info@baroquetravel.com and we will book everything for you, from reservations to travel arrangements. The following dates are available for the dinner: 22, 24 and 25 December 2016.

Christmas at Claridge’s – and throughout the USA

Especially for Christmas – Claridge’s London’s lobby has been transformed into a winter wonderland. And that’s not the only luxury hotel that has pulled out all the stops to offer a taste of Christmas this festive season. Baroque Access takes a look at some US establishments, too

 

His creativity is behind the Apple iPhone and other Apple products, but that hasn’t stopped the brand’s Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive, creating a Christmas spectacular. He is one of two people responsible for the magnificent Christmas display at the luxurious Claridge’s Hotel in London’s prestigious district of Mayfair. For this project, the distinguished designer teamed up with an industrial designer of equal note, Marc Newsome, who also works at Apple. The two worked alongside British set designer Michael Howells to create the final spectacle, which is quite extraordinary.

 

The result of this magical collaboration is a literal Winter Wonderland at Claridge’s that features a magnificent display throughout the hotel lobby including a spectacular tree, 12-foot (4 meter) light boxes that illuminate black and white images of silver birch trees covered with snow plus large pine trees as well as a canopy of natural green pine.

Lights cast different colors onto this wondrous winter scene, transforming it throughout the day. The spectacle is everything that the duo hoped for, a magical installation full of tradition and excitement. Their juxtaposition of natural elements with technology has resulted in a scene that is contemporary and quite unique.

 

Claridge’s has been decorating its lobby for the Christmas season since 2009, choosing a different designer each year to transform the area into their vision of festive splendor. Iconic designers involved have included Christopher Bailey from Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and John Galliano.

 

Of course, the United Kingdom is not the only country that offers exceptional Festive Season spectaculars in many of their luxury hotels. The US also follows this custom.

 

xmas plaza new york.jpg

In New York, for instance, a number of the top hotels feature spectacular Christmas trees at this time of the year, including the iconic The Plaza, whose impressive trees draw crowds every year. At the Eloise at the Plaza store, children can decorate gingerbread houses and cookies at this time of the year, and then, on New Year’s Eve, a live band is set to perform at the hotel’s legendary Palm Court black-tie party.

 

The St Regis New York offers a brilliant spectacle that is full of classic elegance, and includes everything from festive nutcrackers at the hotel entrance to exquisite golden details throughout the lobby area. This year’s theme is the Swiss Alps, and the tree is as spectacular as ever. For Christmas dinner, you can book at the hotel’s famous Astor Court and enjoy a prix fixe menu.

 

On the West Coast, the weather may be warmer but the festivities are just as welcoming. The Beverly Hills Hotel celebrates the festive season with an iconic red carpet at the entrance, lined with life-size nutcrackers and glamorous wreaths. Prior to Christmas visitors can enjoy a special Christmas-themed soufflé at the Polo Lounge.

 

Not to be outdone, Fairmont San Francisco boasts a 23-foot tall Christmas tree as well as a 2-story gingerbread house, an edible confection made with more than a ton of candy and icing.

 

If you would like to find out more about any of these hotels’ offerings for dinner or a vacation this festive season, let Baroque Access assist. Contact us while there is still time, info@baroqueaccess.com and we will organize everything for you.

Thanksgiving in NYC

Baroque Access finds some great New York restaurants where you can enjoy a luxurious Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday

 

Yes, New York is full of restaurants, and many of them are offering stunning Thanksgiving dinner menus this Thanksgiving, Thursday 24 November 2016. But there are some that are offering a superlative Thanksgiving dining experience. We have rounded up a few…

 

Eleven Madison Park

Opulence is the inspiration for this restaurant’s four course Thanksgiving meal. Start off with Chicken Velouté with black truffles plus Kabocha squash with chestnuts. Appetizers include Foie Gras Tourchon with black truffles and scallops with fennel and sea urchin. Mains offer a traditional roast turkey with caramelized apple and chestnut stuffing or a choice of slow-cooked Black Angus beef with hen of the woods, mushrooms and horseradish and butter poached lobster served with daikon and citrus. Desserts are quite traditional (apple tart and vanilla ice cream, pumpkin pie or pecan pie). Cost: $245 per person, plus an additional $135 for optional wine pairing.

 

Agern

Food is seasonal at this Danish eaterie located at Grand Central Terminal – the menu features farmed and wild ingredients from NY State and the style is delightfully Nordic, thanks to Icelandic head chef Gunnar Gíslason. This five-course Thanksgiving includes four savory courses and a sweet dessert. The food is presented family style, with the feast put onto the table to be shared. Expect plenty of luxury ingredients including oysters, lobster and clams as well as traditional turkey (wing, or leg) served Agern’s way, and desserts featuring Thanksgiving ingredients with a twist. Cost: $195 per person, with an additional $125 for wine pairing from Magnums.

 

Jean Georges

The jewel in Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s crown, this stunning restaurant at Trump International Hotel & Tower on Central Park West boasts three Michelin stars and numerous other accolades. The food is a combination of French, American and Asian influences, the menu is seasonal and exemplary. This year’s four course Thanksgiving menu is a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert created from seasonal ingredients, bound to be a winner. Beginning with a choice of yellowfin tuna tartare, gulf shrimp or truffle-crusted Alaskan King Salmon, the menu offers a very luxury take on this traditional holiday, with everything from lobster to turkey with foie gras stuffing. Dessert is a choice of an ‘orchard’ or chocolate tasting. Need we say more? Cost: $188

 

Landmarc

Marc and Pamela Murphy’s Tribeca restaurant at the famous Time Warner Center is a favorite with the locals because of its stunning contemporary bistro dishes, a perfect marriage of French and Italian favorites. The restaurant is also famous for its award-winning wine list. As Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade goes right past the restaurant, it’s a great idea to enjoy the buffet there late morning. Aside from a traditional turkey on offer, there are numerous brunch dishes to enjoy as well as delicious desserts and Landmarc’s famous cocktails. If you prefer you can enjoy an a la carte dinner there – Cost: $185 per person.

 

Fowler & Wells - New on the block

Well-known Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio is offering his new restaurant’s first-ever Thanksgiving menu, and it looks stunning. On the four-course menu, appetizers include roasted Jerusalem artichokes and foie gras torchon. Of course there’s turkey (it comes with roasted mushrooms and chestnut stuffing), or you can enjoy beef-cheek ravioli. And desserts included baked Alaska or a hazelnut chocolate torte. Cost:

Price: $155 per person, with an optional wine pairing for $90.

 

21 Club - For a very traditional Thanksgiving

This famous restaurant, often dubbed simply ‘21’ has been welcoming New York residents through its doors since 1922. This legendary dining and party venue is where everybody comes to see and be seen, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Famous as much for its excellent food as for its historic significance, 21 is extremely traditional – you will need to dress up for dinner, as this is old-school. Of course, turkey is on the menu, as well as rack of lamb, pumpkin and apple pies… You will enjoy the experience here as much as the stunning food on the menu. Cost: $145 per person.

 

Let Baroque Access book your favorite restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. Contact us right away, info@baroqueaccess.com.

Make wishes come true in 2016

Yes, Christmas shopping is a thing of the past, but the type of gift we’re talking about defies that description. For starters, you can’t wrap it. Baroque Lifestyle gives you inspiration for gifts that keep on giving, gifts that involve making somebody’s wish come true, with the added bonus of money for many of the gifts going to charity.

 

What do you give somebody who has everything already? We’ve found some stunning ideas for you, for experiences that are quite special and unique, a gift that takes giving to a whole new level entirely.

Yes, you can literally make somebody’s wishes come true, if you have the money, and if what they want is beyond putting a price on. Each gift is given a monetary value, but the money doesn’t pay for the gift, per se. It goes to a worthwhile charity instead.

 

Let’s say somebody is a keen chef, or is a fan of somebody famous. You can arrange for that person to spend time with the star or celebrity – at a cost. Soccer superstar Christiano Ronaldo is quite happy to spend time with a fan who will also watch him practice at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, and enjoy a VIP ticket to see him play. For this you can pay upwards of $20,000, but the money isn’t going into Ronaldo’s pocket. It’s for the Forever Dream Foundation, which has been in operation since 2012, providing monetary assistance to underprivileged children and their families. The Foundation is happy to make fans of top athletes’ dreams come true, with the assistance of sports superstars like Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

 

New for 2016 is the opportunity to watch El Clasico 2016 with VIP tickets to watch Real Madrid play against FC Barcelona, as well as access to watch a practice, enjoy a stadium tour and received signed sports memorabilia from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the two greatest soccer players of their generation. You can give somebody special the gift of watching these two superstars play against each other in April 2016.

 

sugar ray 21.jpg

Yes, it will cost you – but you cannot put a price on making a dream come true.

Of course, that’s just one of numerous wishes you can make come true for somebody special. Perhaps they dream of spending time with a famous dress designer, or taking a balloon flight over the Grand Canyon with super pilot Chris Dewhirst. Perhaps it’s someone’s greatest wish to spend time with all-time boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard? You don’t even have to wave a magic wand, and this wish can also be granted.

 

Not one of these gifts come cheap. We’re talking anything from $50,000 to $100,000 – or beyond. You can also request a custom experience of a lifetime. This will be even more expensive. But think of the joy in making a wish or a dream come true. And think of the charities that stand to benefit by making that dream a reality.

 

Let Baroque Access make a wish come true in 2016. Contact us right away, info@baroqueaccess.com, and we will help you.

Where to spend an opulent New Year’s Eve in NYC

All the best places are filling up fast, but if you let Baroque Access assist, we have some great ideas of where you can spend New Years Eve 2015 in New York City!

 

Some of the best places to spend New Year's Eve are still available, if you are in the know. So let Baroque Access give you a round-up of where you can welcome 2016.

 

One of the best

The Mandarin Oriental New York is offering a superlative New Year’s Eve celebration, the ultimate luxury experience to ring in 2016. The special offer, which is only available for check-in on 30 or 31 December 2015 until New Year’s Day, includes two nights’ accommodation in a suite as well as two VIP tickets to the Mandarin Oriental’s annual black-tie New Year’s Eve Gala that will be held in the Mandarin Ballroom. This also includes American breakfast every day, either in your suite or in the Asiate Restaurant plus a festive welcome gift. No need to drive or taxi anywhere; it’s all laid on for you in your luxurious hotel! Excellent price, too, from $2,746.

 

La Dolce Vita

For an Italian celebration, you can pick up a very reasonably priced Platinum VIP ticket to Cipriani 42, a very popular destination with international high society. This luxurious nightclub is one of the city’s most elegant events spaces. For $538 you and a partner can enjoy Royal treatment accompanied by a premium open bar and music provided by a live DJ. Toast in the New Year with Prosecco, Italian style at its finest.

 

Dreams are made of this…

The city’s newest premier hotel, Dream Downtown is located between Chelsea and the cool Meatpacking District and offers a constant party vibe that will up the ante this New Year’s Eve in The Gallery, a spacious, state-of-the-art ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and contemporary white brick and black marble finishes. Even more exclusive is PH-D, the popular enclosed rooftop club/lounge penthouse, the perfect place to bring in 2016. For $700 you and a partner can enjoy Ultra VIP tickets to PH-D. Possibly the best way to bring in the new year!

 

Ultimate chic

LAVO Nightclub was made for late night revelry, making it the ideal location for a New Year’s Eve celebration. With its custom-designed lighting, rich leather interior and raised VIP area overlooking the dance floor, it really epitomizes style. The vibrant entertainment and shameless indulgence is the reason the club is so popular with those who can afford to party there. Enjoy a live countdown to midnight, and bring in the new year as you intend to live it, stylishly and to the full. The Couples Champagne Package ($1500) for Table Package VIP ticket holders (yes, it’s an added expense) includes a magnum of Veuve Clicquot Luminous, a reserved table and an unrivalled experience. If champagne is what you crave, quench your thirst for opulent extravagance at the one and only LAVO this NYE. 

 

French flair

Photo credit: Goldstar

Photo credit: Goldstar

Le Poisson Rouge (LPR) is one of New York City’s most famous and superlative nightclubs and lounges. It also offers the quintessential New Year’s Eve experience, which includes a 5-hour premium open bar and light snacks in the early evening, followed by all sorts of festive party favors if you take one of its VIP Package options. Our choice? The Elite Platinum Bottle Package ($5000 for 25 people), which includes private VIP seating in the VIP section, 8 bottles of premium vodka and 4 bottles of premium champagne for the table and VIP priority admission by separate VIP line.


To book any of these iconic New Year’s Eve experiences, contact Baroque Access right away, info@baroqueaccess.com and we will arrange a New Year’s Eve to remember.

Yosemite Bracebridge Dinner

Enjoy an unforgettable dinner and theatrical performance at the elegant Ahwahnee Hotel’s Bracebridge Hall this December. Let Baroque Travel make your reservations now

 

For the past 88 years, guests head back in time to the 18th Century in Yosemite to enjoy an unforgettable experience, a unique holiday tradition at the Ahwahnee Hotel. There, the dining room, called Bracebridge Hall, is transformed into an elaborate Renaissance scene offering an extraordinary feast full of Christmas tradition and pageantry. Throughout December, on various dates from the 13th until Christmas Day, the Bracebridge Dinner enchants and entertains guests who come from all over the country with great music and delicious food.

 

The elegant hotel relives previous Christmases in its magnificent manor hall with its 50-foot wooden beamed ceilings and vast windows offering breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains. Join in this popular Yuletide extravaganza and enjoy a three and a half hour feast that takes you back to old England. The host, Squire Bracebridge, will welcome you to“food and riches without measure, joining voices raised in festive sound. Let our conviviality abound!”.

 

The performance includes a stunning array of singers and court characters who tell the fascinating story of Lord Bracebridge and the members of his household. And while you’re being sent back to another, more charming, time, attentive Bracebridge staff will serve you a stunning seven-course dinner that has been prepared by the luxury hotel’s world-class culinary experts.

 

This extraordinary dinner extravaganza was inspired by a sketchbook by Washington Irving that told the story of Squire Bracebridge and his family’s Christmas traditions over the Festive Season. It also offers an excellent insight into the lifestyle of the Middle Ages.

The dinner includes a fabulous four-hour pageant that features carol singing as well as various Renaissance forms of entertainment featuring over 100 actors and minstrels. To set the scene, the grand Dining Room has been transformed into a Great Hall from the Middle Ages complete with magnificent decorations. Dress is formal as befits an occasion of this manner. Before dinner, guests enjoy champagne, music and Christmas carols in the hotel’s Great Lounge.

 

BRACEBRIDGE DINNER SCHEDULE 2015

 

December 12: 12 noon to 7pm

December 13: 11am to 4pm

December 14: 11am to 4pm

December 15: 2pm to 7pm

December 16: 11am to 4pm

December 17: 2pm to 7pm

December 18: 11am to 4pm

December 19: 2pm to 7pm

December 20: 11am to 4pm

December 21: 12 noon to 7pm

December 22: 11am to 4pm

December 23: 12 noon to 7pm

December 24 & 25: 11am to 4pm

 

To book your unforgettable Bracebridge Dinner, contact Baroque Travel right away, info@baroquetravel.com and we will make all the arrangements for you, including a stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel, or another hotel in Yosemite.

Luxury table gifts on a whole new level

Christmas dinner will never be the same again for those who are willing to indulge in the latest offering, Christmas crackers filled with diamonds!

 

For those of you who have a few million dollars to spare we have found the ultimate luxury Christmas gift for 2015, something that will elevate your Christmas dinner to another level entirely. Jeweler Tresor Paris, based in the United Kingdom, has selected six magnificent white diamonds and placed them inside exquisite hand-crafted Christmas crackers.

Pulling Christmas crackers is a tradition in many English-speaking countries. These prettily decorated cardboard tubes make a popping sound when pulled at either end, to reveal a little novelty gift inside as well as a paper Christmas hat.

Of course, you can purchase more expensive Christmas crackers offering slightly more luxurious surprises. But these latest Christmas crackers have to be the most expensive ever offered. They cost $1.5 million for a set of six crackers, each including a pear-shaped, 3-carat diamond. All of the diamonds are different, and are valued from just under $170,000 to around $371,000. That’s the starting price; if you wish to make the diamond settings more elaborate, it will cost you extra.

 

Nothing about these luxury crackers isn’t the ultimate in luxury. Even the paper used is exotic and rare, and sourced from India. Decorations including exquisite ribbon from Chesire in Britain, goose feathers and other luxe finishes. And then when you pull the cracker, it reveals something quite stunning, including the highlight of the collection, a rare type II A diamond for one lucky guest. Each will also be set into an exquisitely designed piece of jewellery.

Of course, only one of the two people who are pulling the cracker will receive the sparkling prize. The person who wins the gift is the one who is still holding the end of the Christmas cracker.

If you prefer to give your guests something else equally unique and luxurious, you could have your own Christmas crackers created containing all sorts of magnificent objects, including a Cartier necklace, a key to a Sunseeker super yacht, a limited edition wrist watch, a rare fountain pen, or the key for a top of the range Aston Martin Vanquish.

 

If you would like to surprise your Christmas guests with a gift that surpasses imagination when they pull a cracker at your Christmas table, contact Baroque Access and we will arrange an indulgent, bespoke set for you. With time running out, you would need your Christmas crackers booked by 15 December, but if you’re planning to use them for New Year, you have a further two weeks. Mail us now to arrange your bespoke gifts, info@baroqueaccess.com.

Celebrate the holidays at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

Why not spend this Festive Season in style at the highest hotel in the world, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong? Baroque Travel can organise your unforgettable, luxurious Christmas and New Year in this exciting Asian city

 

Count down the days to 2016 with a series of fun and exciting festivities at Hong Kong’s highest hotel, and one of the city’s most luxurious. Pamper yourself and your nearest and dearest in style while you stay in plush surroundings overlooking spectacular Hong Kong harbor with a view of skyscrapers all lit up with their festive finery.


Enjoy a special Christmas celebration on the other side of the world in one of the most exciting cities, followed by fun festivities to usher in the New Year. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong offers its guests a thrilling, multi-sensory adventure any time of the year, but during the Festive Season this plush hotel pulls out all the stops to ensure an unforgettable experience.

 

Located high in the air, this plush, dynamic hotel offers a range of unique and plush facilities to make every guest’s stay a luxurious one. Whether you’re sipping tea in the Lounge and enjoying an Afternoon High Tea complete with exquisite cakes and pastries, dancing through the night at the club, OZONE, savoring refined cuisine in the hotel’s various gourmet restaurants or are being pampered at the ultra-sumptuous, state-of-the-art spa, you’re in for a treat.

Your guest room is a haven of quiet and luxe, with every possible facility at your fingertips. And the view from your window offers a peek at the magic awaiting outside the hotel, Hong Kong’s shops, entertainment, restaurants and sights are just waiting for you to discover their magic.

 

The hotel comes into its own at Christmas and New Year, offering guests an unsurpassed Festive Season experience with all the trimmings. Of course, food is the highlight, but the entertainment on offer is world class and caters for every age, including the kids.

Dining is an unforgettable feast at every meal, but at Christmas and New Year, the chefs outdo themselves, with world-class dishes from various different cusines that are unique, delicious and an absolute treat. The hotel offers five different dining venues, including Chinese and Italian restaurants, a buffet restaurant, the al fresco rooftop bar, and a lobby lounge, all with panoramic city views. If you prefer to dine in private over the Festive Season, there is a selection of private dining rooms to choose from.

 

Take a look of what's on offer this festive season, then contact Baroque Travel right away, and book your stay and your reservations at this luxurious Hong Kong establishment. Contact us for all your travel arrangements, info@baroquetravel.com.

 

A taste of what’s on offer this Christmas

December 24

TOSCA - Christmas Eve 6-course Set Dinner

With Santa Claus Appearance, 6.30pm to 10.30pm

 

TIN LUNG HEEN - Christmas Eve 8-course Set Dinner

With Santa Claus Appearance, 6.30pm to 10.30pm

 

OZONE - Christmas Eve All-in Concept

Includes caviar with a tempting tapas platter, plus a party ticket

Venue: Ozone & Private rooms O2 and O3 at the world’s highest bar

6pm to 9pm

 

Christmas Eve “Cabaret on Broadway” Themed Party

DJ beats, 10pm till late

 

THE LOUNGE & BAR - Teddy Bear Afternoon Tea

Live Music Performance, 3pm to 5pm

 

Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet

Live Music Performance 6pm to 8.30pm or 9.15pm to 11.30pm

Includes free flowing Veuve Clicquot champagne

 

CAFÉ 103 - Christmas Eve

12 noon to 2.30pm including house wines and soft drinks for the kids

 

Sablés Fine Butter Biscuits Afternoon Tea

3.30 to 5.30pm

 

Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet

With Santa Claus appearance, 6.30pm to 10pm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

 

December 25, 2015

TOSCA + THE LOUNGE & BAR - Sky High Brunch Buffet on Level 102

With Santa Claus appearance, 12 noon to 3pm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

 

TOSCA - Christmas Day 6-course Set Dinner

With Santa Claus appearance, 6.30 to 10.30pm

 

OZONE - Christmas Day Dom Pérignon Brunch

12 noon to 3pm with free flow Dom Pérignon Champagne, soft drinks for kids

 

THE LOUNGE & BAR - Teddy Bear Afternoon Tea

Live Music Performance, 4pm to 6pm

 

Christmas Day Dinner Buffet

Live Music Performance, 7pm to 10.30pm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

 

CAFÉ 103 - Christmas Day Lunch Buffet

With Santa Claus appearance, 12 noon to 2.30pm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

 

Sablés Fine Butter Biscuits Afternoon Tea

3.30pm to 5.30pm

 

Christmas Day Dinner Buffet

With Santa Claus appearance, 6.30 to 10.30pm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

 

December 26, 2015

TOSCA Giro d’Italia

Italian Wine and Dine Journey, 12 noon to 2.30pm

Includes 3 or 4-course menu with wine pairing

 

THE LOUNGE & BAR - Teddy Bear Afternoon Tea

Live Music Performance 12 to 2pm, 2.15 to 4.15pm or 4.30 to 6.30pm

 

CAFÉ 103 - Boxing Day Lunch Buffet

12 noon to 2.3opm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

 

Boxing Day Dinner Buffet

6.30pm to 10.30pm

Adults enjoy free flow Veuve Clicquot, house wines; children enjoy juice and soft drinks

What’s on offer in the Caribbean this Christmas

Why not pack up and head for the spectacular Caribbean this Christmas? Baroque Travel has found out all about the fabulous Christmas celebrations on offer in the famous island of St Barths

 

The Christmas season is the ideal time to take a break and get away from it all in the Caribbean. And the jet set island of St Barths has lots to offer its visitors this Christmas, as well as being an idyllic location with blue skies and azure sea. In Gustavia, St Barths hosts a Christmas Village which is set up on the quai (harbor), featuring a variety of local artisans selling their handicrafts, food stands that offer a delectable taste of local St Barths cuisine and even a special area where kids can come and meet Santa Claus (affectionately known on the island as ‘Pere Noel’).

 

St Barths, along with all of the Caribbean islands, is a great fan of Christmas. This Christmas festival is the third consecutive one on the island, and it promises to be even more exciting than ever, with more stands and more fun activities. During the Festive Season, the harbor is full of yachts and the island’s capital sparkles with Christmas lights at night.

Throughout the month of December (from the 1st right through to the 28th), the island hosts the ‘Best Christmas Window’ Competition. Local shops and businesses take part and compete to reveal their creative window decorating talents and their Christmas spirit.

 

|Then, from 12 December until 21 December, visitors to Gustavia village can visit the festive area on the quai , enjoy a taste of traditional Christmas fare, pick up some beautiful arts and crafts made by the locals and join in the festive spirit. Children can enjoy a special Children’s Parade and a costume contest as well as visit with Santa to tell him what they’d like to receive on Christmas Day.

 

If you would like to book a stay in St Barths this Festive Season, and enjoy a spot of sun while you celebrate, let Baroque Travel arrange everything for you. Contact us right away, info@baroquetravel.com, and we will make all your travel arrangements and bookings for you.

 

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES AT ST BARTHS DECEMBER 2015

1-28 Dec: Holiday Window Competition

6 Dec: Firemen Celebration: Parade of fire brigades at 9am in the streets of Gustavia

12-21 Dec: Christmas Village: Festivities and Christmas Market in quai Général de Gaulle, Gustavia village.

13 Dec: Christmas Parade

16 Dec: Kids animation on the dock in Gustavia

20 Dec: Kids Christmas Costume Competition in Gustavia

25 Dec: Christmas Day

Thanksgiving in New York City

26 November is Thanksgiving and if you’d like to enjoy a special Thanksgiving dinner at one of New York City’s finest restaurants, take a look at what’s on offer. Baroque Lifestyle has selected some gems

 

The NoMad Restaurant

The NoMad Restaurant

Take a good look at the stunning selection of New York City restaurants offering a luxury taste of Thanksgiving. If you would like us to book your reservation for you, contact info@baroqueaccess.com and we will make sure you have an unforgettable Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Chevalier at the Baccarat Hotel

It will be Chevalier’s first Thanksgiving. This stunning brasserie, which opened earlier this year, offers modern French dining from Michelin-starred chef Shea Gallante. You do have to pay well for the stunning food, but the resulting meal will definitely be worth it. The four-course dinner includes a salad of endive and chicory followed by a choice of pasta dishes. The highlight, of course, is the turkey with a sausage-chestnut stuffing, or there’s fish or veal if you prefer. Desserts include a Cinderella pumpkin mousse, sticky toffee pudding and a warm apple cider beignet. Enjoy a pre-or post-dinner tipple at the bar.

$120 per head

 

Eleven Madison Park

This is American food at is best, constantly reinvented with new taste sensations and awarded time and again with every possible accolade. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara offer an umatched offering for Thanksgiving with four delectable courses, including a chicken velouté with black truffle followed by smoked foie gras terrine or Hamachi. Turkey follows, or there’s slow-cooked beef or butter-poached lobster and dessert includes a chocolate ganache, butternut-squash sorbet or honey custard.

$195 per head, plus $125 for wine pairing

 

The Breslin

The fabulous restaurant at the Ace Hotel offers what the establishment describes as ‘haute comfort food’ in ‘New York’s version of an English pub’. The food is always hearty and delicious, and the Thanksgiving menu is no exception. Start with Turkey Tortellini Soup before making a choice of your first course – either a Bay Scallop or a Mushroom and Chickory Salad. Main course offerings are either Cornish Rock Hen with a variety of veggies or Brook Trout, and desserts include a traditional Bourbon Pecan Pie or equally delicious Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta.

$85 per head, plus $45 per person wine pairing

 

Mas Farmhouse

French farmhouse restaurant in the heart of Greenwich Village gives a taste of Province to Manhattan. Chef Galen Zamarra offers fresh, seasonal dishes. For Thanksgiving, the chef is adding a number of specials, either a la carte or diners can choose from a four- or six-course Chef’s tasting menu ($88 for the former, $130 for the latter). Specials include all the traditional dishes, including turkey, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. Dinner is from 5pm onwards.

 

The NoMad Restaurant

Enjoy a traditional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving at The NoMad Restaurant, part of the iconic NoMad Hotel, including all of the trimmings from noon right through to 9pm. In addition, those who prefer just a taste of turkey can enjoy ‘leftover turkey sandwiches’ throughout the day as well as the following day at the restaurant itself. The full meal is sure to be even more delicious.

$135 per head. 

Host Thanksgiving in SoHo, Trump style

If you’d like to host a stylish Thanksgiving dinner this November, why not really go all out? Baroque Lifestyle discovers the most exclusive way to spend Thanksgiving, Trump style in SoHo

 

The lavish Trump SoHo New York is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the chance to host guests to a Thanksgiving extravaganza in one of the hotel’s sumptuous penthouse apartments. Book your choice of spacious penthouse suites on the 46-storey hotel’s top floors, with sweeping panoramic views of the city below between 25 and 30 November. These magnificent suites, which can accommodate up to six people, range in size from 1,600 to 2,300 square feet. The suites offer sweeping floor to ceiling windows to maximize the view, as well as a fabulous feast of customized dishes prepared by the hotel’s executive chef, Desmond Lee. Thanksgiving will never be the same again.

 

Of course, only six people can stayin the penthouse, but its spacious enough to host far more people if you wish. In addition, the traditional feast can be enjoyed without missing out on Thanksgiving Football, thanks to at least one large TV and sound system! If you choose to stay in the Premier Duplex Penthouse, however, you and your guests will enjoy a choice of two enormous 46-inch Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 10 TVs, as well as a stunning B&O sound system.

 

Of course, the Trump SoHo New York is a superlative experience in its own right. Offering every possible luxury that could be expected from a plush hotel in Lower Manhattan, it offers 391 spectacular guest rooms and suites. From the moment you enter the dramatic two-floor lobby, you’ll know you’ve arrived in luxe heaven, with its mix of rich and natural design elements and superlative facilities.

 

Guests enjoy all sorts of pampering at The Spa at Trump, including the only private hammam experience available in New York City. There’s a plethora of bars and restaurants to enjoy, and the hotel’s location is ideal for exploring the best shopping and sightseeing areas.

 

The Trump SoHo New York Thanksgiving Penthouse Experience is only available for the nights of 25 to 30 November. If you would like to book whilst there is still availability, contact Baroque Access right away and we will make all the arrangements for you, info@baroqueaccess.com

 

If you are travelling from further afield and need flights and accommodation to get you to and from Manhattan to enjoy your luxury Thanksgiving experience, our sister company, Baroque Travel, can make all the arrangements for you. Email now, info@baroquetravel.com.

The Most Luxurious Spa in NYC

Pamper time is a requisite on Mother’s Day, so if you’re looking for a place to spoil the woman in your life in NYC throughout May, Baroque Travel can organize a treatment at the most luxurious spa in the city

 

New York City’s top luxury spa is found at the plush Peninsula New York. Especially for Mother’s Day, the Peninsula Spa has put together a stunning package for those who wish to spoil the mother in the family – and if she can’t make it on May 10, don’t despair, the packages are valid throughout the month of May 2015.

 

The tranquil Peninsula Spa is an oasis high above Midtown Manhattan that offers a selection of superb signature treatments, a heady mix of Asian, European and Ayurvedic philosophies to create a unique holistic experience. The menu includes all sorts of beauty and wellness treatments plus inventive spa cuisine to enjoy during the day, a state of the art fitness center, glass-enclosed swimming pool and a stunning sun terrace offering breathtaking views of the city below.

 

The Spa has won numerous awards for its excellent offerings, including a five-star rating by Forbes Magazine. Guests enjoy an indulgent experience with personalised service. One of the most popular treatments here is a facial using the French luxury skincare range, Biologique Recherche and another sought-after treatment is the Deep Tissue Experience.

 There are 10 treatment rooms in all, as well as a spacious Private Nail Spa Suite, a Nail Care Suite and separate relaxation lounges for men and women. Peninsula Spa also offers an Asian tea lounge and a range of luxury changing rooms.

 

Of course, the ultimate experience at the Peninsula Spa is in the Private Spa Suite, which is ideal for couples. Throughout the month of May, mothers and their daughters can enjoy a relaxing, rejuvenating pampering experience together, which includes a range of treatments as well as a luxe steam shower and whirlpool bath.

 

For May, there are numerous Mother’s Day Spa Specials available, including special hand and foot treatments in the Nail Suite, as well as all sorts of excellent body treatments, fitness packages, dining and much more so that Mom can enjoy a pampering experience.

 

One of the specials includes a manicure, pedicure and champagne afternoon tea at Gotham Lounge, and there’s also a full-day package that includes an hour-long Holistic massage, 30-minute Chocolate Scrub, mani, pedi, champagne, special Spa Cuisine Lunch and use of the spa’s famous fitness center, pool, sundeck and more.

 

If you’d like to pamper your Mom (or yourself) at New York City’s most luxurious spa, contact Baroque Access right away, info@baroqueaccess.com, and we will arrange everything for you.

 

Coolest Easter eggs in NYC

As the flowers start budding and Easter rears its head, it’s time to celebrate spring in New York City. What better way than with a selection of some of the most delectable goodies to celebrate Easter? Baroque Access has found some great chocolate stores

 

 We can finally feel the start of spring in the air, after a long, hard winter, and the beginning of the new season also heralds Easter time. New York boasts some of the best chocolate stores in the world, and they pull out all the stops at Easter to create delectable chocolate treats. Easter Sunday, April 5th, may be around the corner, but there’s still time to collect a delicious selection of easter eggs. Take a look at what we found…

 

 La Maison du Chocolat

This famous Paris-based gourmet chocolate brand boasts stores worldwide as well as numerous stores in New York City. For Easter 2015, they have created what they describe as a flamboyant collection of handmade gourmet chocolate eggs, from their classic Easter bunny in dark or milk chocolate to a refined coffret of tiny praline delicacies. Watch their movie, Easter Flight, on youtube; it’s a pictorial essay on creating their intricate delights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0n7P3JwTqc&feature=youtu.be

1018 Madison Ave, between 78th & 79th streets, tel: 212 744 7117

30 Rockefeller Center at 49th St, tel: 212 265 9404. www.lamaisonduchocolat.us

 

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Jacques Torres Chocolate

This year’s impressive Easter assortment from Jacques Torres includes an impressive assortment of handmade artisanal Easter goodies. Torres was originally an award-winning pastry chef, but now his chocolate factories and retail stores around the country have become famous as treasure troves full of luxe, creative and extremely edgy chocolate treats. Expect whimsical creations this Easter.

http://www.mrchocolate.com

 

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 Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Creative and innovative to the extreme, this much loved chocolate brand, which is based in Chicago, has lots in store for chocolate lovers this Easter. Gourmet gifts include gilded eggs in a selection of flavors, including peanut butter, caramel and bacon caramel, wandering rabbit caramel bonbons, an enchanted mushroom, and, if you can’t decide which of the delectable treats to give as a gift, why not spoil somebody special with the Easter parcel, a selection of the store’s most popular Easter delights. Purchase these online at http://www.vosgeschocolate.com

 

Li-lac Chocolates

The oldest chocolate store in Manhattan, Li-Lac Chocolates has been delighting New York palates since 1923. Their offerings are still the same as when the store opened almost a century ago, olde worlde delights created by hand in small batches using the original recipes. You can’t get much more authentic than that! Started by Greek immigrant George Demetrious, who studied chocolate making in France, the store is still at its original location in Greenwich Village. Determined to remain old school, the store still manages to attract die-hard chocolate fans, especially at Easter time. This year’s selection is no different, but it will certainly delight… choose from giant chocolate bunnies, vintage chocolate eggs, Easter baskets, marshmallow eggs, jelly bean carrots, lamb pops and more.

40 8th Avenue (at Jane Street), tel: 212 924-2280

http://www.li-lacchocolates.com

 

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Mariebelle Chocolate

Delectable tins and boxes of Easter bunnies and eggs of various sizes await at the various Mariebelle New York stores. Quintessential New Yorker and chocolate gourmand Mariebelle Liebermann is married to artist Jacques Lieberman. Her first store was in Nolito and then another followed in Soho. Her superb chocolate products and innovative new flavors were so popular that she eventually opened a factory in 2004 where all her famous products are now handmade. These products include one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, Mariebelle’s delicious Aztec Hot Chocolate. In 2012 Mariebelle opened a chocolate store in Kyoto, Japan and the following year she opened a Cacao Market in the city, where chocolate aficionados can enjoy more rustic artisanal products. This year she opened a new Cacao Market store closer to home, in Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

http://mariebelle.com, tel: +1 (718) 599 5515/5545