Recently opened in Hells Kitchen. This really is a sexy place - with no attitude and a good vibe. It's billed as a 'stylish, sophisticated gay bar'. Early evening is happy hour, half-price martinis. America seems to like 'shaken' martinis - everyone knows they should be stirred but, what the hell, when in the USA, do as the Americans do.
They're lethal. The music gets going a little later, and an upstairs level opens up, doubling the capacity. It's dark, loud and full of gorgeous boys and girls - many still in their work suits, others out for the evening. I was out on the town on my own, and I really liked it there - the people were friendly and were happy to chat. I left, several hours later, staggering, but smiling.
331 West 51st Street
Hotel in Times Square. This is a luxurious hotel with attentive staff that is close to major shopping and attractions. 5th avenue is right outside the door, MOMA is down the street, Broadway shows are within a 5 minute walk. They have also opened a new restaurant "Fireside". Its going to be a new dinner hotspot in NYC.
21 East 52nd Street at Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022.
If going here then I recommend staying in the town itself. There is nowhere more than a 15 minute walk, for further afield, the shopping mall strip, there is a free round-town shuttle. The slopes are a 25 minute shuttle away, on time and frequent, for a couple of bucks. I stayed at The Painted Buffalo and they gave away free tickets. For a fun night out, if they are at home, go to the ice rink for a hockey game and support the Jackson Hole Moose.
If you have already learned to snowboard but want to improve radically, take a beginner's lesson but do it switch stance - with your other foot forward down the mountain. It is very easy to become one sided when snowboarding and forcing yourself to ride with your wrong foot in front really helps with control and balance. It will feel very weird at first but will instil greater confidence, help your normal-stance turning in either direction and mean that if you do stumble and find yourself going down the mountain with your 'wrong' foot forward you'll have the ability to ride away and switch back to normal when you can. Learning to ride both ways was the best thing I've learned on a snowboard.
Any snowboarding school/qualified instructor
Ski hire at Deer Valley is expensive - 25 dollars a day. Buy a pair of last year's demo skis and arrange with the hire shop to store them for you until the following year. If you don't intend to return, sell them back to the shop or remove the bindings and throw the skis away. You could save £100 on a two week holiday. 'Skis On The Run' are very helpful, you can buy skis 'out of season' at a good price and they will put them aside for your visit.
Deer Valley resort is around 20 miles from Salt Lake City
If skiing in Jackson then I recommend staying in the town itself. Nowhere is more than a 15 minute walk and there are free shuttles if you want to go further afield to the shopping malls. The slopes are a 25 minute bus ride away for a couple of bucks, but where I stayed (The Painted Buffalo) they gave you tickets.
If they are at home, I suggest a night out at the ice-hockey watching the Jackson Hole Moose play.
With the current exchange rate, the US is the best place to ski this year. Summit County in Colorado is the best area overall for terrain, weather, nightlife and variety (imo). The resorts of Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin are close by, with Vail just over the pass.
For beginners and families, Copper is pure gold - quiet and uncrowded with a terrific ski school and a wide variety of terrain including lots of smooth, rolling, confidence-boosting runs. Somehow it's all arranged so you don't feel like you're in a huge crowd all skiing straight downhill, but as if you're in your own private resort, surrounded by hills and trees. Lovely.
Stay at Copper for convenience, or in Frisco or Breckinridge for more nightlife. You can take the ski bus to whichever resort has fresh powder that day.
Ski area webcams at www.summitchamber.org/
If you're broke and can't afford lift passes, a great day spent is skiing up the Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park.
Remember to keep your water inside your parka and always take emergency gear (space blanket and lots of food). You needn't worry about the grizzly bears because they're asleep but watch out for those crazy mountain goats - they love to play games with skiers. They'll race you down the mountain (and they always win), but on occassion they'll just stop right there in front of you with that silly grin and goatee they wear.
Once I had to thread some rocks to get around one and ended up with a ripped sleeve on one side and goat fur stuck to the velcro on the other.
One of the oldest and most authentic bars in Manhattan.
Frequented by many (it gets busy) but mainly by locals and workers around Grammercy and Union Square.
A very long zinc bar, an amazing tin ceiling, some of the best burgers in town and just a great place to hang out and feel as if you are a part of New York. As with most things in New York, this bar just 'works'...it's a great place.
18th street between Park Avenue south and Broadway
Notoriously it was once the most difficult velvet rope to negotiate in Manhattan and apparently they’ll soon be opening a sister venue in London. In it’s heyday, a key card was pre-requisite to gain entry. Whether this concept will work across the pond remains to be seen, and to be fair it’s the kind of place I’d usually avoid like the plague.
But when in New York, and when with a mate-who’s-mate’s-mate-knows-a-mate-of owner Amy Sacco, then why not.
Is it worth the effort? Well, the pretentious git in me did feel kind of smug at leaving the mere mortals behind on the sidewalk, but the place certainly didn’t blow me away.
Inside was “Beverly Hills themed” whatever that means. It was much smaller than expected, music was identikit hip-hop and R&B and there wasn’t a single celebrity du jour to gawp at. The only thing that blew me away was checking my Amex receipts in my wallet the following morning.
515 W. 27th St (between 10th & 11th Aves)
Connoisseurs will turn up their noses, but this is one of my favourite places to go for good, inexpensive, and fun sushi. I have brought people here who are wary of sushi but find themselves enjoying rolls with creamed cheese, fried salmon skin, and other not-very-authentic additions.
And I've never paid more than $30 for two people to be stuffed at the end of the meal.
Valencia/22nd st, San Francisco
Inexpensive lodging near four major ski resorts in Vermont. Great pub and friendly international crowd. Hostel guests are afforded use of the same facilities as the higher priced hotel next door. Lift tickets were cheaper at the reception than at the ski resorts themselves.
441 Magic Mountain Access Rd
Londonderry, Vermont, USA
Greyhound station at Bellows Falls
Local town near Breckenridge, you can stay here much cheaper than staying near the slopes in Breck itself. Also useful as a base for Keystone, A-Basin and Copper.
You don't even need to drive as the free Summit Stage will deliver you to all the resorts, although a car would be handy. If you don't have a car stay on Main Street as it's quite a walk to the restaurants / bars from anywhere else.
Mt Bachelor is a large ski area in the middle of Oregon, about 3.5 hours from Portland, but you can fly into Redmond Airport (RDM) from San Fransisco which is the local strip.
Great powder, brilliant lift system (voted best in the US several times) and no crowds at all. You do need a car as there is virtually no public transport although there is a shuttle from the local town - Bend - to the slopes which you can use if it snows and you've got no chains or 4x4.
Only downside is that winter is off season in Bend which means it's quite quiet.
Worth trying out whether you ski or board. You'll be the only Brits there!
Sunday River is a New Englander's secret. It's an old style ski resort made up of 8 peaks with 131 trails and glades to suit all abilities. Loads of tree skiing and unless you go on a peak weekend during college intersession, you have the luxury of wonderful snow, beautiful scenery and virtually empty slopes. You can stay on the slopes or stay in Bethel, a quaint, traditional Maine town 2 km away. And if you decide to visit during the summer Sunday River boast a fantastic golf course too!
Fantastic skiing and absolutely spoilt for choice. Two hours from Denver International Airport, this county has four areas: Breckenridge, Copper, Keystone, and the 'hardcore area' Arapahoe Basin. You can buy a pass which works at Breck/Copper/A-basin, and there's a shuttle bus that links all of the areas. Vail/Beaver Creek is 30 minutes down the road, too!
One of the newest casinos in this resurgent city dubbed Las Vegas on the Atlantic. This casino is the symbol of that resurgence. Check out all the shopping, the eating and gambling opportunities amid the mandatory juxtaposition of the kitsch and the elegant normally associated with American casinos... and don't forget the free drinks (waitress service) when you're gambling.
The Sofitel is part of the Accor hotel chain. It's an excellent choice with friendly staff and first class service.
For New York it has large and quiet rooms, especially on the higher floors. We've stayed in other hotels in New York but none with this combination of style and quality at reasonable prices if booked ahead. Very conveniently located in midtown between Grand Central and Times Square.
45 West 44th Street between 4th and 5th Avenue
Tel : (+1)212/354-8844
Tour the international headquaters of this news giant. The tour lasts approx 45 minutes taking in the CNN control room, special Efx studio where you see the technology used to produce on-air graphics, global news and weather. Children under 6 are not permitted on the tour.
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