After Black Friday, Hotel reminds shoppers of true holiday spirit

After Black Friday, shoppers need a quiet escape that will remind them of the true meaning of the holidays. In that spirit, the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami invites us to stop by and enjoy some of the best holiday movie classics.

Sipping Hot Toddies and enjoying seasonal favorites, the public is invited to rekindle childhood memories with family and friends at an evening under the stars at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.

The spirit of the season comes alive with holiday movie classics like A Christmas Story, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life, at the hotel’s Bizcaya Fountain Terrace, bringing back memories of hot cocoa, fresh-out-the-oven cookies and stories of sugar plum fairies, Jack Frost and our favorite man in red.

Spread the joy by bringing an unwrapped ‘tween toy or gift card and the hotel will personally deliver them to children in need just in time for the holidays.
The hotel also offers a Christmas Eve Dinner where executive Chef Khaled Ibrahim creates a beautiful five-course gourmet repast with a sustainable menu utilizing seasonal herbs and farm-fresh Florida produce for a tantalizing culinary experience that bursts with flavor. New this year, a five-course specially designed children’s menu will also be presented.
The price is $69 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under plus tax and gratuity.

A New Years Eve event has Chef Ibrahim creating a sumptuous and special five-course dinner with Mediterranean accents in the beautiful Bizcaya restaurant, surrounded by soft live music, candlelight and personalized Ritz-Carlton service. It’s an elegant and beautiful way to end 2011 in style. This one starts at 8 p.m. and runs $149 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Stick around for New Years Day too at Coconut Grove’s most spectacular Sunday Brunch, indoors in Italian palazzo-style splendor or outdoors in a lush courtyard with cascading waterfall. A selection of breakfast favorites, gourmet delicacies, carved meats, grilled-to-order dishes, fresh seafood, caviar, sushi, imported cheeses, charcuteries, risotto, lavish desserts, free-flowing Bellinis, Champagne and more awaits. Priced at $69 per adult, $25 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Ohio’s cinematic spots: An Intelligent Travel report

Every time John Ur covers a state via its cinematic hot spots in his series “Cinematic Road Trip” for Intelligent Travel, I look to see which movies I’ve seen and what spots I know. It’s always a pleasure.

This week Ur hit Ohio. Ohio, as he found, is diverse. He did skip over Columbus. I’ll have to think about a movie that may have been filmed there. Columbus is not dull, but can slide under ones radar. Cleveland, however is not easy to miss. Christmas Story, one of Cleveland’s most well known films is one of my favorites and one that Ur covers.

Ur also hits Cincinnati. I am partial to Cincinnati since I grew up going here as a child and I know it well. However, I wasn’t aware that parts of Traffic was filmed here. Or perhaps I noticed this and forgot.

I do know of a couple Ohio locations on the silver screen that Ur missed. One can’t include everything, so this is no slight on Ur. He always does a fine job.

One movie is The Shawshank Redemption. The prison outside of Mansfield, the abandoned Ohio State Reformatory was one of the main locations. A friend of mine’s father was one of the extras.

Another film with Ohio scenes is Rain Man. One of Cincinnati’s most spectacular buildings, at least it’s my favorite, is Union Terminal. Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise spent some time here while looking for alternative transportation to California. The murals you see in the background as they walked through were done as a WPA project. The building is now mostly a museum center.

Another shot in this film is when the pair are in a car going from Cincinnati across the Ohio River on the Roebling Bridge. The bridge, also known as “The Singing Bridge” because of the sound it makes when cars go across, leads to Covington, Kentucky.