Friday, June 30, 2017

See what's happening at Mandarin Oriental Hotels on videos

Luxury chain news from Dubai, Vegas (watch video), Paris and more
Patti Pietschmann

That's Vegas, baby

 Dubai - A second luxury hotel and branded is slated to open late 2020. The hotel, located in downtown Dubai, will compliment Mandarin Oriental Jumeira Beach, Dubai; the Group's previously announced urban resort, which is currently under construction and due to open late 2018.  The hotel will be the anchor of a 63-story, mixed-use building, to be known as Wasl Tower. It will feature 257 guestrooms, suites and serviced apartments, as well as, 144 residences providing views over downtown Dubai and the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa.  
Meanwhile in Paris - Thierry Marx's new restaurant, l'Honoré,located in the newly deigned lobby feeds the facesof fashionista and other trendy guests.  The chef  creates detox menus for millennials featuring avocado toasts, quinoa salads, fresh juices and more. And to celebrate summer, Mandarin Oriental Paris' pop-up, the Red Garden bar, features artwork by landscape designer, Christophe Gautrand.and offers limited edition Tanqueray gin cocktails thru 16 September 2017.  Located on Bar 8's terrace, a spectacular 14-meter tall plane tree is suspended horizontally over the courtyard garden's "water mirror" pond, and decorated with red cords and Tanqueray gin bottle shards. This artwork will be one of 200 exhibits on display in the French capital during the 7th edition of Paris Design Week, which runs from 8 to 16 September 2017.  One of five signature cocktails is the 'Tokyoite Julep' made with coriander, red pepper, Tanqueray n°10 gin, sherry, lemon and soda. 

The bar scene in New York - Mandarin Oriental New York and Chicago-based co-owners Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas of Alinea Group will open The Aviary NYC in August. The concept's first location outside of Chicago and will deliver a distinctive culinary and interactive approach to cocktails and service and an open kitchen with inventive cocktails and small food plates while reflecting the core principles of the Chicago flagship. The 90-seat bar is set on the 35th floor with sweeping views complemented by an adjacent space, The Office, will provide a speakeasy-style environment, with 40 seats.
Spa/Wellness worldwide--new option o get unplugged, disengage from and re-evaluate relationships with technology through a calming and soothing respite from the stress and demands of a constantly connected, digital lifestyle.   Also the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Boston offers three new innovative Biologique Recherche facials including the Remodeling Face Facial featuring Biologique Recherche's proprietary methodology. It begins with a personalized skin analysis and a customized treatment to hydrate, revitalize and protect the skin at the only spa in Massachusetts to showcase Biologique Recherche products. Remodeling Face facia luses state-of-the-art technology, combining the power and synergies of electrical and high frequency currents that reinvigorates the skin by stimulating the epidermis. Available for $290 on weekdays and $320 on weekends for a 1 hour 20 minute experience
At Atlanta - the spa, in collaboration with Natura Bissé, offers four new spa treatments.  An unprecedented sensory experience, the Diamond Rose Serenity, is a smoothing and nourishing diamond rose exfoliation designed to revitalize and purify the skin. A regenerating massage with the exquisite absolute Damask rose oil awakens the senses and transports guests into a state relaxation and well-being. This 1 hour 20 minute treatment is priced at $225 and $250 (weekends).  
In Washington D.C. - Mandarin Oriental teams up with the Mayo Clinic,  with  the "Resilient You" with Mayo Clinic Physician Matthew M. Clark, PH.D., L.P. for September 16, 2017 while "Eat Well, Live Well"withMayo Clinic Physician Donald D. Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H. for November 18, 2017.  The events will consist of physician-led lecture sessions, small group activities, and a personalized wellness plan. Healthy cuisine will be provided by Executive Chef Adam Tanner to complement the program. Mayo Clinic Healthy Living at MO costs $1,895 inclusive of accommodation and meals.
 Pudong, Shanghai - An urban spa getaway  is available for the first time in the city with world-renowned cosmetic brand Natura Bissé.  To celebrate the debut, the Summer Glory Package is specially designed for today's frequent travellers who seek effective results and precious moments of relaxation with the latest medical aesthetic techniques.  Unwind in the evening with a soothing bath in their guestroom infused with Mandarin Oriental's signature oil blend. A facial masque and eye pads ensure deep relaxation before a luxurious night's sleep. The next day, a delicious in-room breakfast from The Vitality menu is served prior to enjoying a 60-minute O2 Relax purifying facial treatment. Through Sept., 4, 2017.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why renting a condo on Maui makes good sense (Video)

Cool condo rentals rock Maui

Patti Pietschmann with photos by Richard Pietschman

For the last five years or so my husband Richard and I have been renting vacation condos on Maui from Kaanapali to Kihei and loving all the conveniences such as huge savings on meals, privacy and price. (The video is of our favorite Mana Kai condo #215 which we recently bought a share in because we like it that much read on to see why).

Vacation condo rentals are booming on Maui where rates at top hotels (Four Seasons, Andaz, Fairmont Kea Lani, Grand Wailea) can bust the budgets especially for families. Restaurant prices seem to be increasing constantly costing sometimes $75 just for lunch (the tab at Cafe O'Lei in Kihei last month).  Condos come with kitchens which means you can fix your own meals and drinks (prices for wine ans cocktails except at happy hour are steep at bars) and save on  snacks. We do go out for meals occasionally. 

The first thing we do when we get off the plane in Maui is pick up a rental car and drive over to nearby Costco to stock up on  food, wine and booze (much cheaper there than in town (with a few exceptions). Fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, even prime beef cost much less than Maui supermarkets.

Three of the best condo rentals on Maui 
Beach at Mana Kai

Mana Kai,  which we fell in love with three years ago when we went with another couple (besties). The well-kept property sits smack on a spectacular beach and offers all the comforts of a hotel and much more. You can have maid service, or not. There's free WiFi, replenished beach towels, a large pool, 5 Palms Restaurant (with a great 6-hour-long happy hour), 2 bedroom units with lanais, barbecues on the grounds and free parking. 
Just downstairs from the units of Mana Kai

Kam Beach 

Happy hour food at 5 Palms

MagicalMaui sunset on Kamaole Beach

Chef Richard in condo kitchen 
Another favorite is MauiEldorado Kaanapali by Outrigger at the westernmost tip of the island. It is a short walk from what locals call Airport Beach, which is part of the renowned Kaanapali Beach but less crowded and usually with calmer seas. The ambiance is casual, laid-backed, really relaxed. There are no elevators, room service, mini bars and such. You can book maid service for an added fee or just rough it for a few days. There is a big beach cabana where guests get towels, take an after-swim shower and relax in chaises. If you don’t want to rent a car there’s a Kaanapali shuttle to take you to Lahaina and resort restaurants. You can also walk to the Sheraton Maui and Whaler’s Village (an upscale mall with shops and eateries such as Hula Grill). The Maui Eldorado has three swimming pools (2 heated). There is also an on-site sundry store and activity desk.

A very reasonably-priced condo option is Maui Banyan which comes with lots of amenities (beach towels, pool, bbq's,  WiFi, and more and is a short stroll to one of Kihei's best Kam Beaches as well as fun eateries such at Fred's, Moose's, 808 Bistro and Cafe O'Lei.

We just tried Hale Kamaole left) for the first time. This property is not far from Maui Banyan and has nice units with lanais. Our unit 311 had AC on a timer which was a little inconvenient. It also came with free fast WiFi. We didn't care for the plastic plates and lack of some cooking needs (coffee grinder, bread knife, rice cooker) but we bought our own at a yard sale, Thrift shop and Target. There is also a  well-used pool and barbecues.

Each of these properties have well landscaped grounds, full kitchens, linens and supplies, and can be rented directly or through Maui Condo and Car or VRBO. We have used both companies and been mostly satisfied. A perk of renting condos is they are often stocked with water toys, beach chairs, umbrellas, mats and games for your use. But do stock up on sunscreen.

Patti poses in front of Maui Banyan
 Eating a Fred's Kihei

Kihei, which is located on the south side of Maui, has a lot going for it. It's sightly off the tourist track, has a lively, non Wailea-pretentious vibe, great beaches and a feel good ambiance.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Making a case for vacationing in Kihei

What makes Kihei Maui so special, let us count the ways
Patti Pietschmann

Over two decades my husband Richard and I have vacationed on every part of Maui from bustling Kaanapali to heavenly Hana.  We’ve stayed in  luxury hotels such as Four Seasons, Fairmont Kea Lani, Grand Wailea, Andaz , as well as Bed and Breakfasts, the Sheraton Maui, condos from the most exclusive Kaanapali Alii to Outrigger El Dorado, Maui Banyan, Mana Kai and others.  It being Maui, we always had enjoyable stays.  But none beat bedding down in Khei ei where we have been renting condos, often with our best friend Bob pictured with us at Humu Humu at Grand Wailea) for the past five years.

Located on the south side of the Valley Island, this little stretch of beach font provides a lively, non-pretentious vibe that attracts millennials, middle-agers, boomers and seniors seeking more than fancy umbrella drinks by the pool.

Housing is mostly in condo rentals which are located either on one of three special Kamaole Beaches or across the street.  There are good, inexpensive places to eat such as Fred’s, Café O’Lei, 5 Palms, Moose’s, Chinese holes in the wall, take out options and more. Most of them have popular happy hours with reduced prices on food and drink.
5 Palms at Mana Kai
  Condo dwellers have a Foodland, Safeway, Hawaiian Moons health food store, Whalers, Times Market in which to stock their larders. Most of us make weekly trips to CostCo—a 20-minute drive in Kahalui near the airport--we often hit the discount store right after arrival on the way to the condo to stock up on necessities such as booze, beer, wine, fish, steaks, vegetables, eggs, yogurt, walnuts—which are sold for much less than in town.

Kihei has awesome sunsets which locals and visitors celebrate by bringing chairs and beverages to the beach to relish the view. The area attracts transplants such as we who now eschew the touristy spots for a more authentic Hawaiian experience (many local utilize the parks, beaches and eateries.  But when one feels the urge, Wailea’s just 10 minutes away and so is one of our favorite non-Kihei restaurants Gannon’s.  Kaanapali,  however  is a bit of a schlep maybe an hour’s drive. There are city buses to take you there, too or to famous  Lahaina.

 Kīhei is a census-designated place in Maui County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The population was 20,881 at the 2010 census. Wikipedia
Zip code96753
Population20,881 (2010)
Area11.7 mi² (9.3 mi² Land / 2.4 mi² Water)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trojan goes to war for safe sex with 'Protect Your Wang" campaign

Condom company creates unique float for NY City June Pride Month parade

By Patti Pietschmann

In an effort to foster safe sex and promote products  the maker of Trojan™ brand condoms has teamed up with world-renowned designer Alexander Wang to create a one-of-a-kind float for this year's New York City Pride March to remind people of the importance of using condoms, and to foster a positive dialogue about sexual health within the LGBTQ community.

The float  was conceived to capture both the aesthetic designs of Alexander Wang with its sleek, monochromatic feel, while the circular design artistically brings to life a Trojan condom, reinforcing the importance of safe sex and protection. DJ Jesse Marco will provide the soundtrack, while Alex Wang, guests on the float and the Trojan™ march contingent encourage Pride attendees to "Protect Your Wang." Additionally, the Trojan™ march contingent will be wearing "Protect Your Wang" T-shirts designed by Wang himself. Brand ambassadors will distribute thousands of samples of Trojan™ condoms and branded tattoos to attendees. Fans are encouraged to follow the float live along the march route and join the online conversation by sharing photos and messages with #WangFest.
"I felt this partnership with Trojan was a positive way to reinforce the message of inclusion and promote wellness within the LGBTQ community. I feel proud to be able to celebrate our differences and remind everyone to 'Protect Your Wang,'" said Alex Wang.
The importance of keeping it covered
Recent data from the CDC STD Surveillance Report shows that STDs continue to be on the rise, with gay and bisexual men being one of the groups at greater risk, reinforcing the need for open dialogue about condoms and sexual health. Rubbers can greatly reduce the risk of STIs, including HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV), when used consistently and correctly. For many, condoms are the best method of protection against STIs and can be used in conjunction with PrEP as PrEP does not protect against other STIs.   
In effort to support and encourage making positive sexual health choices and using protection, Alexander Wang will donate his design fee to the LGBT Community Center of New York. The Center provides LGBT communities of NYC health and wellness programs; arts, entertainment, and cultural events; recovery, wellness, parenthood and family support services.  
"We are thrilled to enhance our annual NYC Pride support by partnering with Alexander Wang to design and join our float at the March. Alex has the power to influence many people to make positive choices about protecting their sexual health and enhancing their pleasure," said Stephanie Berez, group brand manager for Trojan™ brand condoms. "Trojan has a long heritage of supporting the LGBTQ and all communities by providing resources to improve sexual health. Beyond Pride, our year-round partnership with the National Coalition of STD Directors helps us push our efforts towards encouraging the practice of safe sex for all. The New York City Pride March is just one of many events we will have throughout 2017, alongside our larger LGBTQ campaign, 'We Love Who We Love™.'"
In support of Pride Month and the LGBTQ community, Trojan recently launched "We Love Who We Love™" a digital campaign celebrating universal love and the importance of protecting that love. The campaign and content will be live on various platforms throughout the summer. Follow @TrojanCondoms on Twitter or to join the conversation with #WeLoveWhoWeLove and #WangFest.

Breaking news: Ritz-Carlton to launch luxury yachts

Company creates The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
By Patti Pietschmann

"The first of three lavish cruising yachts in this series is scheduled to take to sea in the fourth quarter of 2019, and distinguishes Marriott International as the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea."

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., part of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), along with maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., will provide luxury hospitality service under a long-term operating agreement called the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

“The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world,” said Herve Humler, president and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “This unique combination of yachting and cruising will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service.”

The first ship will cruise a wide variety of destinations depending on the season, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Due to the intimate size of the vessel, the yacht will call at unique locations typically not accessible to large cruise ships, from Capri and Portofino to St. Barths and the old town of Cartagena. With a relaxed pace, that includes both overnight and daytime ports of call, guests will be offered a uniquely curated destination experience.

The 149-suite yachts can  accommodate up to 298 passengers. The yacht will also have two 138 square-meter lavish duplex penthouse suites, with modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading cruise ship design firm, Tillberg Design of SwedenThere will also be a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar, offering a wide variety of on-board entertainment. Additionally, the yacht will offer one-of-a-kind curated destination journeys through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and artists, allowing guests to experience the locations in unique and experiential ways, both onboard and ashore

“The Ritz-Carlton is known for its legendary service and high standards,” said Douglas Prothero Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. “We are delighted to collaborate with The Ritz-Carlton as our hospitality operator in offering the most exclusive yachting experience to be found at sea in a venture that will give new meaning to curated luxury travel,” continued Lars Clasen, Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
Booking begin May 2018. The ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter. For more information visit 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Delightful dining on Maui at humuhumunukunukuapua'a at Grand Wailea Maui

A heavenly lagoon setting for a Maui sunset dinner

Patti & Richard Pietschmann

The name, humuhumunukunukuapua'a, is quite a mouthful. It is the name of Hawaii’s state fish.  The restaurant is actually a wooden, Polynesian thatch-roof structure that floats on a lovely lagoon at the Grand Wailea Maui ( and was newly redesigned in December 2016). The menu is an easy to navigate selections of Hawai’i Seasonal Cuisine highlighted by delicious Island fish and meat entrees with Polynesian or Hawaiian influences created by Chef Mike Lofaro.

My Maui trio, husband/writing partner Richard, our friend Bob from Seattle,
made our yearly pilgrammage to Humu (how most people refer to it) the other night.

Here's we ate along with martinis for the boys and Chard for me:

Super scallops
This goat cheesecake is outstanding

Hamachi happiness


Happy Patti

Contented Richard

Humu is romantic for a couples sunset dinner and ideal for family or friends outing. Do make a reservation but get to there early enough to walk around this amazing hotel and stop for a drink at the outstandingly glam lobby bar.

Humuhumu - Grand Wailea

3850 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, HI 96761
  • Hawaii Regional Cuisine
  • Wailea
  • $31 to $50

Fond Maui memories through a lens digital: a Patti Pietschmann photo essay

Wowie photos by Richard J. Pietschmann

Friends aka: the Mau trio

 Guys in the condo kitchen cooking up dinner

 Fragrant flowers

 Swaying palms

 Cocktails at Fred's Kihei

Sweet Maui pineapple


Our home away from home

 Martini at 5 Palms happy hour
 Sushi bar at 5 Palms Kihei

 Magical Maui sunset

Gannon's Wailea

 Humu at Grand Wailea

Goatcheese cake