The Star Diamond Standard

I have been quite blessed throughout my life in that I have been fortunate enough to make a career out of my passion for travel. A love for traveling the globe is actually quite the common trend these days, but there is certainly an unarguable difference between vagabonding through Europe after college graduation and exploring the world in the lap of luxury. With that in mind, here are my recommendations for the Star Diamond properties, opulent travel, and high-end products that true connoisseurs of the luxury lifestyle must check out.

The Oak Bar

If your spring travels will be taking you to the East Coast, then a trip to the Oak Bar at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City is certainly in order. You can’t beat the views of Central Park, and the renovations have restored this property to its former glory, allowing it to proudly claim its title once again as New York’s most famous martini bar. The hotel itself has been earning quite a bit of attention lately, and to that I say that if it has been grand enough for the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant, The Beatles, Robert Redford, Michael Douglas, John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, and Matthew Broderick, then it is certainly grand enough for Star Diamond attention.

Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
New York, NY 10019

Montage Laguna Beach

Considering that this property has been open since 2003, I’m sure many of you already know of its splendors. But the fact that Montage Laguna Beach recently celebrated its seven-year anniversary on Feb. 22, 2010 and is still regarded as one of the leading destination resorts for the affluent means that it certainly earned attention from those of us at the American Academy for Hospitality Sciences. When you book your trip, it is an absolute must that you reserve space in your travel agenda for some time at Spa Montage. The 20,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor spa offers the ultimate in relaxation and is the most perfect way to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit.

30801 South Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651


And because we consider the value of luxury brands in every category at the Academy, high-performance automobiles must not be forgotten. Despite the economy, right now is an exciting time for car enthusiasts, considering that the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Mulsanne have us all drooling with anticipation of a test drive in the near future. If neither of those are in the budget for 2010, my recommendation is the Star Diamond recipient Mercedes-Benz. I may be a bit partial to the Manhattan dealership, which has won the Five Star Diamond Award consecutively since 2006, but a trip to any dealership is sure to reveal the brand’s claim to fame: “Mercedes-Benz is a lifestyle—an experience that transcends the road and raises expectations. It is the very symbol of leadership, quality, and luxury the world over.”