Archive for New York City
The Weirdest Restaurants in the World
Ever eat in Alcatraz? Dine on Mars? Then it’s about time you get a taste of some of the wackiest, weirdest, out-of-this-world restaurants.
For more strange places to eat, check out this video of the the world’s top 10 most peculiar restaurants.
Restaurant: Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand
Culinary Concept: Robot run. Owner Lapassarad Thanaphant (pictured) has high hopes for her robot-run restaurant. Thanaphant invested nearly $1 million to purchase four dancing (yes, they also dance!) robots who serve diners Japanese delicacies.
|Eating with Sharks|
Restaurant: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Rangali Island, Maldives
Culinary Concept: Fish-eye view. Ever dine on octopus and oysters surrounded by octopus and oysters? Well, you can do just that at the luxurious Ithaa restaurant beneath the Indian Ocean. Ithaa, meaning “pearl,” sits between three and six feet below sea level (depending on the tides) and weighs over 200 tons, so the chef won’t drift out to sea. On the menu: crustaceans and wild game.
|New Meaning for Noodle Bowl|
Culinary Concept: Bathroom themed. If you’re into poop jokes (and can get over the gross-out factor), then you will find this toilet-themed restaurant plenty entertaining. Guests slurp up Asian noodles from commode-shaped bowls while sitting on their very own can. Keep the seat down.
|On the Rocks|
Restaurant: Laino Snow Village Ice Restaurant, Ylläsjärvi, Finland
Culinary Concept: Ikea meets igloo. Just north of the Arctic Circle the winters are cold enough to sustain Snow Village’s Ice Restaurant for the season. Inside the 200-square-meter all-natural ice structure, diners sit on solid-ice chairs at solid-ice tables while savoring local fare like cream of Lappish potato soup with cold smoked salmon, tender reindeer, and game meatballs served with — what else? — vodka-lingonberry jelly.
|Floating in Air|
Restaurant: Dinner in the Sky, worldwide
Culinary Concept: Suspended supper. Dinner in the Sky brings new meaning to alfresco dining. If you have $40,000 to spare, you and 21 of your closest friends can lavishly dangle 150 feet above any city (or golf course) while conspicuously consuming beef and foie gras mille-feuille (savory layered puff pastry) and sipping Dom Pérignon.
Culinary Concept: Treehouse treats. Using resources from inside the Yellow Pages, Pacific Environments architects constructed this pod-shaped eatery accessed by an 180-foot “treetop” walkway. There, 18 diners savored a multicourse menu that included pan-fried lamb loins with baby beetroot and mandarin salad with caramelized garlic. (Unfortunately, the restaurant was just a temporary project and has since closed.)
|Wine for Whiners|
Restaurant: Le Refuge des Fondus, Paris, France
Culinary Concept: Bottle service. As rumor has it, this favorite tourist attraction in the Montmartre neighborhood first began offering patrons wine in baby bottles as a way to avoid the French tax on wine served in proper glasses. While sucking down the grape juice, winos can fill their bellies with toothsome cheese or beef fondues.
|Life on Mars|
Restaurant: Mars 2112, Times Square, New York City
Culinary Concept: Earthling eats. NASA predicted by 2112 we’d be making commercial flights to Mars. Why wait for the airfare wars when you can pay a visit right in New York’s Times Square? Upon arrival, friendly Martians guide hungry earthlings into the hot, dry, red planet, where they can dine on the Martian Seafood Platter — exotic ocean shellfish, squid, shrimp, mussels with a spicy seafood sauce.
|Beverages Behind Bars|
Restaurant: Alcatraz E.R., Tokyo, Japan
Culinary Concept: In(ti)mate atmosphere. If you were ever curious (and who isn’t?) about life in a medical prison, Tokyo’s Alcatraz E.R. will serve that sentence. Diners are handcuffed upon arrival and taken to their “cells,” where they can choose from a list of bizarre elixirs served in blood-transfusion apparatus by hospital orderlies.
|Dining in the Dark|
Restaurant: Opaque, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA
Culinary Concept: Blind taste-test. At Opaque, patrons are led into the restaurant by visually impaired or blind employees to experience dining in the dark. The absence of light allows the senses to spring into action, enhancing the smell, taste, and texture of favorites like luscious mango panna cotta with coconut crème anglaise.
|The Long and Winding Road|
Culinary Concept: Roller-coaster service. At this futuristic eatery, the waitstaff is a thing of the past. Guests place their orders via a touch-screen computer at each table. When the food — which, according to the restaurant, is based primarily on local, organic ingredients and cooked with minimal fat — is ready, it zips to the table along a twisting track from the kitchen above.
|Ancient Japanese Underworld|
Restaurant: Ninja New York, New York, NY
Culinary Concept: Japanese warrior fare. Forget Ninja Turtles. This Japanese venue with a labyrinth-like interior was modeled after an ancient Ninja castle. After your waiter impresses you with his gravity-defying acrobatics, dine on the Katana, a $50 prime steak marinated in teriyaki sauce, and finish the ninja-filled night with the smoking piña colada-assorted diced fruits with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream sinking in a mysterious pineapple coconut pond. Don’t forget your sword.
Restaurant: The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs, CO
Culinary Concept: Mile-high meals. Onboard this grounded 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, diners feast on atypical airline food like the Reuben von Crashed — tender corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing served on fresh marble rye bread.
10 Unusual Playgrounds From Around the World by
Playgrounds have come a long way since the days of hot, steel slides and open-backed infant swings. Take a look at some of the many unusually cool designs popping up around the world.
1. Nishi-Rokugo – Tokyo, Japan
In Japanese, Nishi-Rokugo means Tire Park. The Kawasaki plants are located not far away, so it’s possible they donated the 3,000 tires that make up the dinosaurs, monsters, bridges, slides, swings, and all the loose ones there for kids to stack and hop on. But this sand-bottom park is hardly just for kids. Parents can haul tires up specially designed tire steps and tube down wide concrete slides. I can imagine it’s the type of place you can spend hours at before you, er, tire, of it.
2. The Fruit and Scent Playground –Liljeholmen, Sweden
A banana slide, strawberry spinners, a pair of cherry swings, an orange see-saw and a watermelon jungle gym are all part of this unusual, small park in the south of Stockholm. It’s a great theme because it also teaches kids the importance of fruit over junk food. Reports coming out of the country indicate that the outdoors-loving Swede is on the way out. According to a study by Karolinska university hospital, obesity among seven year olds in Stockholm has increased from 8.5% to 21% over the last fifteen years. What could be better than exercising in fruit as an antidote?
3. Clemyjontri Park – Fairfax County, Virginia
Not just the name is unusual at Clemyjontri Park in Fairfax County, Virginia. This place is one of the few playgrounds in the world where children with disabilities can play side-by-side those without. The entire park is equipped with ramps for wheelchairs and the ground surfaces are specially designed with a non-slip material. The park is named for Adele Lebowitz’s (a major donor) four children: Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (Jon), and Petrina (Tri). Mrs. Lebowitz and her husband were also sponsors of a local children’s television show, The Pick Temple Show, in the 1950s. The star of that show, a clown named Bozo, was played by Willard Scott. Bozo, as you might know, would later morph into Ronald McDonald.
4. Pruessen Park – Berlin, Germany
This next playground is not for kids at all. In fact, anyone under 16 is not allowed inside Berlin’s Pruessen Park, nicknamed the “Playground for Grown-Ups.” The equipment is specifically designed for people over five feet tall and caters to Germany’s fastest growing age demographic: seniors. The idea, obviously, is to encourage them to get out and exercise more.
5. Zabeel Technology Park – Dubai
Perhaps the first playground in the world with a technology theme, Dubai’s Zabeel Technology Park has two zones featuring futuristic technology and alternative energy exhibits, a series of high tech interactive displays, and a maze modeled on the solar system.
6. Takino Hillside Park – Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan
The Children’s Playground in the Takino Hillside Park in Japan borrows ideas and images from nature. Varied lighting and sound conditions create a unique sensory experience for kids, unlike anything else on this list. Check out the cool net play tool in the rainbow nest dome. You can see how a lot of the park is built into, and under the hill.
7. St. Kilda Adventure Playground – Adelaide, Australia
St Kilda Adventure Playground is one of Australia’s best known parks and covers 4 hectares along the beautiful South Australian seafront. The park was opened in 1982 and recent upgrades include a wooden castle, a small maze, and a submarine, nicknamed “The Yellow Submarine.” But the park’s biggest attraction is the beached pirate shipwreck, which is especially popular with dolphins and other sea wildlife.
8. Teardrop Park – New York City, NY
Located between residential buildings in Battery Park City, Teardrop Park is unlike anything else in NYC. Built for a whopping $17 million, the park features prominent rock outcroppings, geologic formations, a secret path, a bluestone ice wall, a humongous, almost dangerous looking slide, sandboxes, water play areas, a reading space with rock seats, and places to rock hop. Best of all, because it’s not so easy to find, Teardrop Park is a real insiders secret. (Shhhhh.)
9. Yerba Gardens – San Francisco, California
It may sound like an unsafe setting, but the rooftop at Yerba Gardens in San Francisco is home to one of the most elaborate playgrounds ever constructed. Aside from the ice-skating rink, bowling center and the 130,000 square feet of open space to play in, the playground includes a beautiful 103-year-old hand carved carousel. The Zeum carousel was constructed in 1906 but could not be installed in San Francisco as originally planned because of earthquake issues. It was eventually housed at Luna Park in Seattle, where it was the only piece of equipment to survive a horrific 1911 fire. The city of San Francisco bought the carousel from a collector in 1998 and restored it to its original condition. It now serves at the centerpiece in Yerba Gardens
10. Playground – Boadilla del Monte, Spain
Spanish architects Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly designed this stunning modern playground with the intention of giving children inspiration to pursue their dreams in an airy and cool environment. I’ve never been to Madrid, a mere 30 minutes drive from Boadilla del Monte, but when I do finally get there, this playground is my first stop.
Diplomats Help Boost Rates at World’s Most Expensive Hotels
by Tara Loader Wilkinson
Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva commands
$65,000 a night for its four-bedroom penthouse.
Amid the recession, rock stars, diplomats and other celebrities find
solace from the doom and gloom by spending their time in sanctuary
provided by the world’s most luxurious, and expensive, hotels. While
many of us are tightening our belts, shortening our summer holidays or
even abandoning them, hoteliers to the rich and famous claim to have no
trouble filling their most exclusive accommodations, and in the case of
the most expensive suite in the world, managing to double its rate to
$65,000 (€45,642) a night.
In an annual survey by Financial News’ sister publication Wealth
Bulletin, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in
Geneva, Switzerland, tops the list as the most expensive hotel room in
2009, commanding $65,000 for its four-bedroom penthouse — twice as much
as patrons paid a year ago for its luxurious setting and views of Lake
Geneva and Mont Blanc.
The hotel’s management puts the rise down to “buoyant demand” from
government officials and U.N. diplomats.
Last year’s winner, the iconic Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four
Seasons Hotel in New York, came second this time, at $35,000, $1,000 up
from last year.
New entries this year were the third-placed Presidential Suite at the
Hotel Cala di Volpe in Sardinia, the Villa La Cupola Suite at the
Westin Excelsior in Rome and the Presidential Suite at the Ritz-Carlton
Despite the past year’s financial and economic turmoil, prices at the
best hotel suites have risen by an average of 10% this year. Herbert
Ypma, founder of the Hip Hotels brand, said: “The very high end hasn’t
suffered all that much. A lot of hotels used to having upmarket
clientele are getting the benefit of them taking far more time off than
usual — so they have more time to stay in hotels. Money was never the
issue, time was.”
Hoteliers said that although the number of business travellers has
fallen in the past year, government officials have taken their place in
the best rooms and suites.
President Barack Obama and his entourage took over the entire
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow for three nights in June. The President
Wilson Hotel said heads of state and other high-level government
officials are fuelling demand for its hugely expensive Royal Penthouse
Vivian Deuschl, spokeswoman for Ritz-Carlton Hotels, said demand is
also coming from wealthy leisure travellers: “Last year they might have
taken three or four cheaper holidays. This year they are taking one big
vacation, but pulling out all the stops.”
The 10 most expensive hotel suites according to Wealth Bulletin’s
survey for 2009 are:
library of the Ty Warner Penthouse at New York’s Four Seasons Hotel.
1. The Royal Penthouse Suite, President Wilson Hotel, Geneva
— $65,000 per night
Complete with a cocktail lounge, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the
President Wilson is so exclusive that bookings reportedly have to be
made through the hotel’s chairman. The suite occupies the entire top
floor of the hotel. It is reached by a private elevator, has four
bedrooms overlooking Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc and comes with six
bathrooms. Equipped with bulletproof windows and doors, it is almost
exclusively reserved for celebrities or state heads, ideal with the
United Nations headquarters a five-minute drive away.
2. Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel, New York —
$35,000 per night
Business at the Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel in New
York has remained as buoyant as when the suite opened in 2007, according
to a spokeswoman. The nine-room suite has walls inlaid with thousands
of pieces of mother-of-pearl. There is an indoor-outdoor Zen garden, a
private spa room with a screen of living bamboo and a book-lined
library, which has a grand piano at its centre.
3. The Presidential Suite, Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa
Smeralda, Sardinia — $34,000 per night
The Presidential Suite at Hotel Cala di Volpe near Porto Cervo,
averages around $34,000 a night, although during the peak summer season
will cost as much as $45,000. Located in the hotel tower, the
multi-level Presidential Suite sprawls across 2,500 sq ft and has three
bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private gym, a steam room and a wine
cellar. It is crowned by a rooftop terrace with an outdoor saltwater
4. Villa La Cupola Suite, Westin Excelsior, Rome — $31,000
Villa La Cupola Suite in Rome’s Westin Excelsior embodies all things
Roman and excessive: a cupola, a Pompeii-style Jacuzzi, frescoes and
stained glass windows detailing allegories of a mythological figure
paired with a modern one, such as Atlas and Television, Hypnosis and
Neurosis, Hermes and Marketing and Hermaphrodite and Fashion. Located on
the fifth and sixth floors, the suite covers 6,099 sq ft and has an
additional 1,808 sq ft of balconies and terraces overlooking Via Veneto.
Presidential Suite at Tokyo’s Ritz-Carlton.
5. The Presidential Suite, Ritz-Carlton Tokyo — $25,000 per
The Presidential Suite, on the top floor of the city’s tallest
building, has spectacular views of Mount Fuji and Roppongi Hills, as
well as an expansive vista of Tokyo’s impressive cityscape. It occupies
2,368 sq ft. For refreshments, guests may enjoy the $18,000
Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini, which comes with a one-karat Bulgari
diamond at the bottom.
6. The Bridge Suite, The Atlantis, Bahamas — $22,000 per
The 10-room Bridge Suite is actually a bridge spanning the two towers
of the Atlantis Hotel. The 23rd-floor suite is decked with marble
floors, a grand piano and a 22-carat gold chandelier. It was known in
former times as “the Michael Jackson Suite” because of his regular
stays. Prices have come down from $25,000 last year and fees are
negotiable. Nevertheless, the suite is so exclusive the hotel does not
even advertise it.
7. The Imperial Suite, Park Hyatt Vendôme, Paris — $20,000
The Imperial Suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris provides guests with an
“in-suite-spa” concept — with the bathroom/spa comprising a whirlpool
bath, a steam shower room and a massage table. The 2,500 sq ft penthouse
suite has a huge living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a work area.
Burj Al Arab
Royal Suite at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
8. Royal Suite, Burj Al Arab, Dubai — $19,600 per night
Since it was built in the mid-1990s, the Burj Al Arab has become one
of the world’s most instantly recognizable hotels with its billowing
sail-like structure stretching out on an artificial island into the Gulf
of Arabia. The Royal Suite on the 25th floor has a marble-and-gold
staircase, leopard print carpets, its own private lift and a rotating
four-poster canopy bed.
9. Royal Armleder Suite, Le Richemond, Geneva — $18,900 per
The Royal Armleder Suite at the Le Richemond Hotel is named after the
wealthy family who used to own the famous hotel before Rocco Forte
bought it in August 2004. The three-bedroom suite, which stretches over
2,500 sq ft on the seventh floor, has a 1,000 sq ft terrace with
panoramic views of Lake Geneva, a real log fire and floor-to-ceiling
bulletproof windows. Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte’s sister and well-known
hotel interior designer, designed the suite.
10. The Ritz-Carlton Suite, The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow —
$16,500 per night
To stay at the best suite in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton would cost around
$16,000 a night — $500 less than last year. Furnished in Russian
imperial style, the 2,370 sq ft suite has views of famous Moscow sites
including the Kremlin and Red Square. The suite comes with that
necessity for the security-conscious Russian billionaire — a panic room
with its own energy and telecommunications facilities.
Research for this survey was compiled during mid-August. Prices are
rate per night including taxes.
From Financial News at http://www.efinancialnews.com