BEST EXPERIENCES AND OTHER FASCINATING PLACES
Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden, Germany
Fasnacht Celebration, Basel Switzerland
New Zealand- The Milford Track Walk (5 days)
Queenstown New Zealand- Great people, spectacular landscapes, and the adventure capital of the world!
BEST HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS I'VE VISITED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
The following list are some of my favorite restaurants and hotels. Only exceptional locations are listed. Restaurants or Hotels with "***" preceding them are, in my opinion, among the finest in the world
Sydney: Park Hyatt Sydney at The Rocks...selected because of its spectacular views and location only
***Salzburg: Hotel Sacher Oesterreichischer Hof Hotel- Superb in every respect. In my opinion, one of the finest hotels in the world.
Brussels: Belga Queen Restaurant- Located in an old bank building...make sure you check out the bathroom with the electronically activated translucent glass and the waterfall toilet.
Grand Cayman: The Wharf Restaurant- Make sure you sit on the huge deck and watch the nightly feeding of the Tarpin
Grand Cayman: The Casa Havana Restaurant in the Westin Hotel, they'll even setup a table for you on the beach if you want
***Shanghai- The Westin at Bund Center- Absolutely fabulous service, great rooms, unbelievable buffet, and meticulous decor. In my opinion, one of the finest hotels in the world.
Arenal: Tabacon Lodge- A tropical paradise, especially where the river, which is heated to 104 degrees by the volcano, runs through the jungle after coming out from under the volcano. Don't miss the nightly volcanic eruptions, which you can watch from your balcony while sipping wine.
Cuenca: Oro Verde Hotel- Nice old world service and location
Quito: Hotel Quito Restaurant (recommend restaurant only)- Spectacular views of the city, tuxedo service, and $20 dinners. The hotel itself sucks.
Helsinki: Kamp Hotel- Attentive service, fine accommodations, and a superb location close to everything.
Hong Kong: Island Shangri-La Hotel- Incredible service, location, and room appointments.
Hassler Hotel- The best location in Rome (on top of the Spanish Steps). Impeccable service. Tastefully appointed rooms.
Ocho Rios: Enchanted Garden Hotel- One of the most beautiful grounds I have ever seen, a jungle paradise. Don't miss the opportunity to feed the exotic birds in the huge aviary.
***Tokyo Area (Okutakao): Ukai Toriyama- In my opinion, one of the finest restaurants in the world (click on link to see review).
Cancun- Haciendo El Mortero -A fun place to eat with good food and service.
Cancun- Bogart's- Any restaurant that puts pillows under your feet when you eat can't be all bad.
***Singapore: Ritz Carlton Hotel- Unbelievable service, spectacular views, and a really cool bathroom.
***Singapore: Marina Bay Sands Hotel- "Over the top" architecture, great service, imaculate rooms, best infinity pool in the world, and over 80 (yes 80!) restaurants to choose from.
Singapore: Hilton Orchard Road- Unbelievable service, great location.
Madrid: El Rincon de Esteban- Very nice understated restaurant (located on Santa Catalina Avenue) with authentic and moderately priced food, attentive service from the proprietor, and a welcoming ambiance.
Lucern (recommend restaurant only): Schloss-Hotel, Merlishchachen Restaurant, Switzerland
Ngorongoro: Ngorongoro Lodge- The hotel is built on the lip of the Ngorongoro crater with SPECTACULAR views. The buffet includes local meats such as Wildebeast (I opted for the chicken and pasta). Also, they give you a candle at check-in since the generator turns off at 10:00.
United Kingdom- "The Shard" restaurant- Best views in the country, and an upscale dining experience high atop London.
Arizona- The Enchantment Resort in Sedona- Great views, service, and accommodations.
Arizona- The Phoenician (Scottsdale)- Lush gardens, well appointed rooms, sweeping views and excellent service (somewhat disappointing restaurants).
Arizona- The Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa (Scottsdale)- Incredible grounds, nice rooms, attentive service and a fabulous pool complex.
California- San Francisco- Mark Adams Hotel- Great location, service, and spacious rooms.
California- Palm Springs- Marriott Esmeralda Renaissance Resort and Spa- Beautiful in every respect.
California- San Diego- Hotel del Coronado- Selected for its history and epic size, but small rooms, overpriced and average service.
California- Coalinga- Harris Ranch Restaurant- Located next to the cattle pens along Route 5 between LA and San Francisco. Pasture to plate in minutes.
California- Danville- Since I lived there I have to pick something. "Bridges" is a nice place that is world-famous (they filmed Mrs. "Doubtfire" there. The Blackhawk Grille is also very nice.
California- Yosemite- Ahwanee Hotel- Grand-Daddy of all National Park Hotels
California- Yosemite- Tenaya Lodge- Located just outside the southern border of the park, loaded with amenities and spectacularly grand and beautiful.
***Colorado- The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs- One of the finest hotels in the US.
California- Campo Di Bocce Restaurant in Livermore- A really FUN place to eat. Tables are set among indoor Bocce courts...play Bocce while being served wine and appetizers, or go outside and play under the trellises and fireplaces, then treat yourself to nice Italian lunch or dinner.
District of Columbia- The Hay Adams Hotel- Great location, history, and nice appointments
Florida- OK, I'm a sucker for Disney World restaurants, particularly the ones at Epcot (lunch buffet at Norway, dinner in Mexico or Italy).
***Florida- The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach- Spectacular in every way.
***Hawaii- Maui- Grand Wailea- Recommend both the hotel and restaurants
Hawaii- Big Island- Hilton Waikoloa Village Hotel
***Indiana- Saint Elmo's Steakhouse- It's been there for 100+ years. Tuxedo clad waiters serve the biggest and tastiest steaks on Earth (the shrimp cocktail is a must as well).
***Louisiana- New Orleans- Brennan's. Breakfast at Brennan's is an experience, not just a meal. This is the place that invented Bananas Foster. There is even a BOOK they sell called "Breakfast at Brennan's, just in case you want to study-up before dining-out).
Nevada- Bellagio Hotel- Spectacular
New Jersey- Big Eds Ribs - OK, I'm from NJ so I had to pick something , the atmosphere sucks but the ribs are out of this world.
New Mexico- Santa Fe, The Bishop's Lodge
Washington- Columbia River Gorge: Skamania Lodge- Drop-dead beautiful mountain views in a grand lodge with great service.