It’s springtime, and you know what that means: Shopping in New York! There are buds on the trees in Central Park, yummy new window displays along 5th Avenue, and the hotels are shaking off the winter blues with irresistible lures for your après-shopping pleasure.
Meanwhile, as out-of-town weekend divas converge on the city, real New Yorkers can escape to the ranch. Everybody wins!
Luxury Shopping in the City
Grab your best shopping buddy and head for 60 East 54th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. Hotel Élysée, home of the famed Monkey Bar & Grill and favorite retreat dating back to the 1930s of privacy-seeking celebs, writers, and the rich and eccentric presents its NYC Luxury Shopping deal.
Besides your personal copy of Vanity Fair and Zagat’s New York shopping guide, you’ll be greeted with pink champagne and a box of Leonidas cocoa-dusted truffles. Included with your suite is a day at Bergdorf Goodman, which includes a complimentary facial and a personal shopping consultation. Spend $500-$999 and you get a $50 gift card; spend $1,000 and get $100.
The crème de la crème of accommodations — the 950-square-foot Royal Suite and the Piano Suite — have full kitchens and (non-working) fireplaces. Oh, and baby grand pianos and dining for six or eight. One has a marble bath and the other has a terrace overlooking 54th Street.
The weekends-only Luxury Shopping Package for two nights in the Royal or Piano Suite: $2,590 plus tax. Regular suites start at $350 per night. If you want to toss in a pair of robes, masses of fresh flowers, and a tote bag for each of you, what the heck, plan on another $260. Learn more at www.elyseehotel.com.
Diamond-Encrusted Cell Phone
The dramatic lighted cube of Apple’s flagship store in New York, at 767 Fifth Ave., is a must-see at night, and by day, of course, a retail wonderland for rabid Mac-lovers.
You can’t exactly walk in and buy it off the shelf, but if you simply must have the world’s most expensive cell phone, that would be Peter Aloisson’s diamond-encrusted iPhone. That’s about 17 carats worth of diamonds encircling the case — between 318 and 320 to be exact — set in 18k white gold.
Test out the iPhone at the Apple store, then fire off a personal e-mail to Austrian luxury designer Peter Aloisson himself to get your custom order started. The last one he made cost $187, 000 and change. Expect to adjust for inflation, of course. More at www.aloisson.com.
Your Personal New York City Closet
Frequent travel to New York, what with shopping sprees, business events and social obligations, poses an annoying problem, travel-wise. Do you really need to transport those gowns, shoes, bags and suits back and forth?
Of course not, if you’re a customer of Garde Robe, where Internet-high tech meets old world service.
When you check out of your hotel, you’ll leave clothes, shoes, personal effects and even toiletries behind. Your personal valet will retrieve, clean if necessary, organize and store it all back in your personal climate-controlled, air-purified New York City closet.
When you’re planning to be back in town, just provide the address and arrival date, you’ll find everything fresh, pressed, hanging and arranged in your suite on arrival. No more packing, unpacking, storage, and baggage hang-ups at the airport. Now here’s the high tech part. Everything is photographed and cataloged in your secure Garde Robe “cyber closet,” so you simply go online, enter your personal code and scroll through the photos.
Want the Michael Kors rayon jersey and Victor Costa tube dress, the Dior boots, the Chanel and Hermes bags and your absolutely essential Tracie Martyn cosmetics? Just check the appropriate boxes next to the photos.
Oh, and if you’re still at home in Palm Beach and simply must have the Valentino top for tomorrow’s gala, no problem — they’ll overnight it to you. Storage is unlimited and pickup/delivery are free. Rates: $350 a month per rack of 50 items, plus space for shoes and accessories.
Attention, shoe divas: a $225 shoe rack will handle 30 pairs. Your online cyber-closet album is included in the price, and for an extra $75-$150 you also can get a leather-bound portfolio to keep with you. Not to drop names, but Dan Rather is a happy client, and supermodel/fashion designer Iman says Garde Robe houses her entire wardrobe. How many racks is that, I wonder? Peek into a sample closet at www.garderobeonline.com.
Cowgirl Boot Camp: British Columbia
Attention, latte-sipping ladies, the Elkin Creek Guest Ranch in the majestic Coastal Mountains of Vancouver, British Columbia invites you to lose your heels and BlackBerries, and channel your inner cowgirl at one of their exclusive Cowgirl Boot Camp weekends.
Though it’s girls only, you’ll be surrounded by cowboy and wrangler testosterone as you learn to saddle up, rope and ride, and even mend fences in the traditions of early Chilcotin cowboys.
You also can try your hand at fly-fishing, go mountain biking, sailing and windsurfing, or canoeing and kayaking in the fresh mountain air. All that action will justify the five-star ranch menu and mouth-watering cuisine. You can pick a two-bedroom log cabin or a bedroom in the main house.
Three days and two nights of cowgirling, including meals, is just $836 per person. Hurry! There’s only one cowgirl weekend per season: spring, summer and autumn.
Check it out at www.adventurewestresorts.com.
Ranch to the Max: Montana
If ranching to you means more wine and aromatherapy and less roping and fence mending, grab the divas and head for the super-luxe Triple Creek Ranch on the highest peak in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.
Expect gourmet cuisine, hot tubs and double steam showers, fireplaces, and your own golf cart to get around this stunning and refined Relais & Chateaux resort. Tennis courts, a putting green, and guided excursions balance out the very refined horseback riding and cattle drives.
The most extravagant cabin is the 3,600 square-foot Ponderosa, half a mile from the lodge: tri-level deck, three bedrooms with private baths, wireless Internet and a two-story rock fireplace.
The Girlfriend’s Getaway for four in the Ponderosa includes four nights, gourmet dining, four en-suite massages, afternoon wine and cheese, ranch activities and a Triple Creek for each of you (or, if you prefer, photo albums) to take home — all for just $13,080. Prepare to be wowed at www.triplecreekranch.com.
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