The Star Diamond Standard

As I am introduced to these beacons of luxury, I will ensure that you are made aware of them as well. In 2010, I intend to take you not only as my guest to the most exclusive international properties, but also to include you as my “plus one” at the many VIP events I have the great fortune to attend as the president of the American Academy of Hospitality Services.

While the Côte d’Azur remains one of the finest destinations in France, nowhere else in the region can you take that expectation and find a resort that is able to successfully incorporate as many conveniences in one place as does the Royal Mougins Golf Resort. With its exceptional geographic location, the resort luxuriously combines a refined and convivial atmosphere with high-end decorations and amenities. For those who appreciate a room with a view, suites at this resort include views of country gardens, the 18-hole internationally renowned golf course, streams, and waterfalls. The Royal Mougins Golf Club is a private club reserved for members and their guests only, making it one of the most prestigious clubs for the fairways in the world.

Royal Mougins Golf Resort
424 Avenue du Roi, 06250 Mougins, France
+33 4 92 28 58 81

Providing the option between breathtaking pine forest view rooms and serene sea view rooms is just one of the many reasons why the Grand Hotel Du Cap-Ferrat is recognized as a leader in hospitality. The entire hotel has been refurbished by Pierre-Yves Rochon who designed a new wing, the “Residence,” created by the Nicean architect Luc Svetchine, which includes a luxurious new spa. The spa offers a wide range of treatments including selections specifically designed for the great outdoors, administered in the five outdoor pavilions. With its awe-inspiring location in the Côte d’Azur, a concierge is on hand to guide guests towards all of the highlights of the area. The hotel will be reopening its Michelin-star restaurant, Le Cap, in April 2010, where Chef Didier Anies offers inventive gourmet cuisine showcasing top-quality seasonal produce.

Grand Hotel Du Cap-Ferrat
71 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle
06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
+33 (0)4 93 76 50 50

To truly appreciate the beauty of Italy, you should always incorporate a visit to Tuscany. Once a stately resident of the Grand Duke Ferdinando de’ Medici, the Fonteverde is elegantly set amidst the Tuscan countryside between precious hot springs. The richly decorated residences are reminiscent of a Renaissance elegance combined with the undeniable comfort and luxury deeply ingrained in the hotel itself. This resort and spa is award winning not solely based on its impeccable standard of luxury, but additionally because the Fonteverde offers an experience like none other set in a lush countryside rich with ancient thermal waters, perfect for anyone who is looking to escape into a traditional enclave of pampering.

Località Terme, 1
53040 San Casciano dei Bagni, Siena, Italy
+39 0578 57241

Known for stylish living with aesthetic overtones of comfort and technology, Hotel Martinez was built more than 70 years ago. It is a waterfront hotel that has firmly established itself over the decades as the flagship hotel on the Riviera and one of the top luxury properties in Europe. The beautiful exterior architecture of the seven-story hotel lends itself to a timeless and elegant eternal youth that transcends into the spacious and extravagant interior. Comprised of 412 rooms and suites, the hotel features three on-site restaurants, including the Michelin-starred La Palme d’Or, a piano bar, vast private beach, heated pool, and 15 meeting rooms and reception lounges, making it a popular destination no matter what time of year. With its prime location on the prestigious La Croisette, the hotel overlooks the palm tree-lined avenue that leads to the golden beaches of the French Riviera.

Hotel Martinez
73 Boulevard de la Croisette
06400 Cannes, France
04 92 98 73 00

But if leaving the U.S. doesn’t tickle your fancy this year, taking in the culinary delight’s of New York’s own da Umberto is certainly a must. Da Umberto, open since 1988, is nestled in the heart of Chelsea and offers a delectable menu, an extremely palatable wine list, and a personal touch from its staff, which helps to explain why many call this the most authentic Italian restaurant in the entire city. There is an inviting bar and naturally lit dining room that quickly fills nightly with patrons. Dishes you won’t want to pass up include house-made pasta; grilled fish; Porterhouse steak for two; roast suckling pig with wild fennel; and sushi grade tuna with spice rub and salsa verde.

Da Umberto
107 W. 17th St., New York

As the only five-star hotel in Salerno, Raito Hotel offers a wide range of comforts for those seeking to disappear into epitome of luxurious Italian living with views of the Gulf of Salerno and Vietri sul Mare. The luxe property features an ExPure Spa, whose methodology is based on the principles of phytotherapy, which is said to reactivate the proper health of the body and mind and restore lost harmony. The real show stopper of this hotel is the array of classic terraces with olive and orange trees that overlook the sea, creating the ultimate in Italian experiences.

Raito Hotel, Amalfi Coast
Via Nuova Raito, 9
84019 Vietri sul Mare, Italy