Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - Five Sexy Bitches

After a quick stop at Alziari, a well-known olive oil store, we made our way back to the hotel and prepared for our farewell French Riviera dinner at La Petite Maison with Monsieur Christophe Aldunate, the hotel’s general manager, and Liliana who told us this was one of the best restaurants in all of Nice and Bono’s (of the band U2) favorite place to eat when in town. It is very popular with celebrities. In fact, Barbara Streisand was there a week before we dined there, and Dita Von Teese, a popular burlesque dancer, was eating there while we were there.

Along with the terrific food, great company and honest host, we were thrilled when Akon’s “Sexy Bitch” song started playing and the staff escorted an ignited sign that read “Welcome to Nice!” to our table. It was the perfect way to end our perfect trip to the French Riviera. I miss you ladies already!!!

Many thanks to Concorde Hotels and Laura Davidson Public Relations for hosting an amazing and completely unforgettable trip. Merci!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - Sightseeing, Food, Shopping & A Wine Revolution

The next morning was full of exploration as we were escorted by Olivia and Liliana to around Old Town with our first stop at Castle Hill. First the Greek Acropolis, then the medieval stronghold before the population settled at its foot to form what is now the Old Town. The Castle Hill, which is 270 feet high, is a wonderful place to stroll. We enjoyed the incredible panorama over the city from Terrasse Frédéric Nietzsche, located on the highest point of the Castle Hill Park. After our hike up Castle Hill, we toured the Lascaris Palace, which was the residence of the Vintimille family from 1657 to the French Revolution. This historic building was restored after 1963 to become a museum, and now houses antique instruments. All of Old Town is a lovely setting of Baroque architecture, delectable restaurants and a maze of narrow streets lined with amazing shops and boutiques. One of our favorites, Girofle et Cannelle, sells all types of salts and peppers in a very interactive manner.

We stopped at the wine cellar Cave Bianchi, which was started in 1860 and is one of the oldest wine cellars in Nice, for a wine tasting and sampled French wines in the same caves as Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. Franck gave us a great overview of the history of wine and the current wine revolution that began in 1985. He explained that the current revolution in wine is rose wines, as the “pink wave” started in St Tropez 20 years ago and has moved to London then New York City then San Francisco and now throughout the rest of the world. He made the profound statement that, “wine is the one thing you can taste that can remind you of a place or time as it evokes memories.” No wonder I like it so much :)!

After the tasting, we enjoyed an outdoor lunch at Le Grand Balcon followed by shopping at Cours Saleya, one of the busiest parts of Old Nice with an antique market on Mondays. What a fabulous day!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - A Palace & Perfume

As we woke up the next morning to transfer to another luxurious hotel, the Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice, some of us were moving quite slowly as the festivities from the previous evening had caught up with us. Nice is the largest city in the French Riviera and home of France’s third-largest airport. Upon arrival at our new hotel, we had lunch with Liliana, the hotel’s sales & marketing manager, at Le 3e located inside the hotel. Although food wasn’t the most important thing to me at the time, our server made the experience absolutely wonderful and the food was delicious. We checked into our fabulous suites at Palais de la Mediterranee (thank you for my awesome views of the Med Sea, but it was difficult checking emails while overlooking the beach and water...lol). This hotel has a wide range of accomodations, including suites that have a terrace, large living room, dressing room, and beautiful ocean views. And I was conveniently a few doors away from the fantastic Hammam spa room (hammam means 'spreader of warmth'), which is open to hotel guests.

After lunch we drove to the ancient town of Eze to Galimard Perfume where we got to make our own perfume and learn about the making of and history of perfumes. This was one of the coolest things I have ever done. Caroline, a trained perfumer, helped us mix and concoct the perfect scent for each one of us during a six-step smelling and measuring and mixing process (watch video). Stay tuned for “Getaway Girl, The Fragrance” to hit stores soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - La Palme d'Or, La Chunga & Champagne Bottles on Fire

After a hotel tour (including the 10,700 square foot suite; one of the largest in Europe), we enjoyed a delectable dinner at La Palme d’Or Restuarant, a two-star Michelin restaurant featuring Chef Christian Sinicropi. This was one of the most decadent meals I have ever eaten with the presentation just as spectacular as the food. In fact, the chef and his wife make all of the serving dishes by hand so they create the exact type of presentation for each entree. We started with the Dublin Bay Prawn, marinated and roasted, as a tartare seasoned with sour and smoked flavors with splits of black truffle, purple Hollandaise sauce, basil leaves and combawa citrus fruits, and a cubic of beetroot gazpacho.

Our entree was The Cheek of Veal, preserved and served with young carrots with mimosa seasoning and zests of citrus fruits. After that, we were presented with a selection of cheeses, a pre-dessert, then the restaurant’s signature dessert, The Chocolate ‘Palme d’Or’ that is creamy and crispy golden Jivara chocolate with a Tonka bean ice cream. And if that was not enough, we enjoyed herb tea steamed right in front of us after the herbs were hand cut from the plant. To top it off, we enjoyed fireworks over the Mediterranean Sea thanks to a Russian wedding reception that was taking place on the beach just outside our table's balcony. Then, on our way out of the restaurant, we received a parting gift....more dessert!

After dinner, Nubia, Lara and I made our way to La Chunga, a piano bar/club located just across the street from our hotel, for a night on the town. After all, we were in Cannes on a Saturday night. One minute we are outside with our cocktails, the next minute we are inside and someone is pouring us champagne out of a huge bottle that is on fire. Welcome to the party! The party ended for me when an angry (and very intoxicated) French woman threw champagne on me. It was very dramatic....just like something out of a movie!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - Yachts, Monks & Wine

The next morning we left the hotel’s pontoon, boarded our private boat and made our way to Saint-Honorat Island, which is located off the Bay of Cannes, opposite the Hotel Martinez. In the year 405 on this parcel of land in the middle of the sea, a monk named Saint Honorat established a place for the monastic life. In 1869, the island saw the arrival of the first Cistercian monks from the monastery of Senanque. Today, about 20 monks still reside there are maintain a vineyard, Lerins Abbey, which produces about 40,000-50,000 bottles per year. The monks of Saint-Honorat (or Monk Island as I called it) are earning acclaim for their wines. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a private wine tasting while at the island.

After working up an appetite tasting wine, we enjoyed lunch at the island restaurant La Tonnelle, which involved more wine, then returned to Cannes by boat. The French Riviera is a major yachting and cruising area with several marinas along its coast, so the boat ride provided close views of some incredible yachts. The Riviera hosts 50% of the world's super yacht fleet, with 90% of all super yachts visiting the region's coast at least once in their lifetime.

Once back, we toured the old town of Cannes “Le Suquet” with its interesting history, lovely narrow streets and amazing views from the top of the Musee de la Castre.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - Cannes, Zplage & Rose Wine

With 300 days of sunshine per year, 560+ miles of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts, 3,000 restaurants, countless casinos, incredible shopping (from Versace to Gucci) and the Cannes Film Festival, its no wonder that the French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur) was one of the first modern resort areas and is still a popular vacation destination. Located on the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, the French Riviera is the perfect place for a Girlfriend Getaway. Plus, you know you are going to a great destination when a supermodel is aboard your flight!

On the famous Boulevard de La Croisette in the heart of downtown Cannes, next to the beautiful sandy beach is the iconic Hotel Martinez, which would be our luxurious home for the next two nights. Stars such as Eva Longoria, Benicio del Toro, Tim Burton, Woody Allen, Javier Bardeem, Naomie Watts, Meg Ryan, Lionel Richie, Pharrel Williams and Mila Jovovitch have all stayed at the Hotel Martinez, so (of course) we felt right at home as we each checked into our own suite with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The Hotel’s own private beach, Zplage, is just steps across the boulevard from the front door and evokes a laid back atmosphere in the daytime with sun loungers on the pontoon, as well as delicious food and drinks. At night in the summer, Zplage turns into a Cannes hot spot complete with music (focusing on disco and seventies), cocktails and a tapas menu.

After lunch at Zplage’s waterfront restaurant, we were treated to our choice of spa treatments. I chose the one-hour Lancaster Facial Absolute Oxygen Sensation. For most facials, you must chose either moisture or anti-aging. However, with this treatment options, you no longer have to choose. This beauty ritual does it all, responding precisely to what your skin needs with in-depth re-oxygenation and regeneration of the skin. After our spa treatments, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at the Zplage Beach Club with our own sun loungers on the pontoon and a bottle of rose wine. I quickly found out that in the French Riviera, they don’t ask you if you want wine, they simply ask you what color wine you want.

Our evening began with champagne at the hotel bar, Bar l’Amiral that features live music and both indoor and outdoor seating, and was followed by dinner at the Bistro Le Relais Restaurant. We all turned in early as we were still trying to adapt to the time change.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Girls Getaway to the South of France

There's nothing like a trip to the South of France with stops at both Nice and Cannes. Follow our adventures as we "rester" at Hotel Martinez and Palais de la Mediterranee.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Girlfriend Getaway Submission - Cancun

This month's Girlfriend Getaway photos were submitted by Cessie Cerrato from Miami.
She writes: "For our Girls Getaway to Cancun, we stayed at the Moon Palace Golf Resort & Spa, where we also caught the Shakira concert- went to Isla Mujeres as a day trip for some shopping, seafood eating and golf carting.
Isla Mujeres has the most amazing seafood, fresh delicious Coconut Ice Cream, lots of cool shopping for unique jewelry and silver, home to whale sharks during the summer months and a laid back lifestyle."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Everyday Etiquette, For The (Sometimes) Not So Nice Travel World

I am thrilled to share a wonderful new book, Everyday Etiquette: How to Navigate 101 Common and Uncommon Social Situations, written by my friend Patricia Rossi who is also a correspondent for the NBC Daytime TV Show. We have spent several mornings in the show’s Green Room and always have the best conversations as you cannot help but instantly like her. Like me, Patricia was raised in the south and spent most of her childhood as a tomboy.

Patricia is an etiquette coach, consultant and public speaker. Her nationally syndicated Manners Minute airs weekly on a number of NBC, CBS and ABC television stations. She’s Twitter’s #1 etiquette professional and she (like me) resides in Florida.

When Patricia sent me a copy of her new book, I couldn’t wait to read it, especially the Chapter Eight about Travel. How appropriate that I read this book in an airport during a three-hour flight delay. As if traveling by plane is not challenging enough, imagine a plane full of people who have already waited three hours just to be crammed into a small space with bad air. I am now with many cranky and unhappy people, which is when etiquette and manners are seldom found.

Airplane/airport etiquette (or the lack thereof) is one of my biggest pet peeves since I spend more time there than I do at my house. Patricia’s tip: “Before pushing back in your seat, be considerate. Take a glance backward and give a verbal cue to the person seated behind you....” should be printed and posted on the seat back in front of everyone. I cannot tell you how many times people have flown back in their seats only to slam into my laptop or even hit me in the face. It’s just plain rude.

I could go on and on about travel etiquette, but Patricia’s book does a great job of covering the essentials. Her book also covers etiquette in the areas of social media, introductions, table manners, business matters, children, petiquette, giving/receiving gifts, sports and celebrations. In addition (hey singles), her section on dating gives quite a few helpful tips (yes, I have been on dates with men who snap their fingers at waitstaff and are completely annoying).

So be sure to check out Everyday Etiquette: How to Navigate 101 Common and Uncommon Social Situations. I guarantee you will find something that will assist you with your professional or personal life. To buy the book, visit Amazon.com. For more information about Patricia, visit www.PatriciaRossi.com.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Girls Getaway Guide Announces Promotional Opportunity

Girls Getaway Guide Announces Fifth Annual "12 Days 'til Christmas" - Promotional Opportunity for Resorts & Hotels

To help people continue to enjoy the gift of travel, the Girls Getaway Guide is thrilled to announce The Getaway Girl's® fifth annual "12 Days 'til Christmas" holiday promotion.

In an effort to help people beat the holiday madness, the Girls Getaway Guide will host a countdown to the big day. Women everywhere can visit the Girls Getaway Guide online at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net to sign up for fabulous vacation giveaways, which are sure to provide welcome holiday cheer during this stressful time of year.
friends on beach The winners will be selected on each of the 12 business days starting Dec. 7 through Dec. 22. Each day leading up to Christmas, a terrific Girls Getaway Guide vacation prize will be given away to a randomly-selected entrant.

We are currently seeking hotels and resorts to partner with us once again for this successful promotion that will be running October-December 2011. There is no cost to participate. We ask that you donate a vacation package that can consist of any amenities, meals, activities you prefer; however, they must include at least one night stay. Partnering businesses will be promoted on all of the Girls Getaway Guide's communication channels, including blog, website, E-newsletter, social media and Heartbeat Radio for Women which reach more than 50,000 fans/followers/visitors/subscribers each month.

If interested in donating, please contact us at Info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net by Friday, September 16, 2011.