Hangover Cures: A Global Primer

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, so what better time to provide a list of hangover cures from around the world? Our friends at Alice Marshall Public Relations in New York asked some of their clients about local versions of hair-of-the-dog. Unsurprisingly, the preferred remedies all have a distinctly regional flavor. Here’s to a headache-and-nausea-free January 1!

St. Barts
On this notorious party island, the secret is to stay awake. Pull an all-nighter, and when “the bakery” in St. Jean opens, score a croissant straight out of the oven. Devour it, cross the street and jump into the ocean.

Although I’ve found coconut water to be the best hangover helper in existence, Thailand has a more original cure. According to the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Black Ivory Coffee (aka elephant dung coffee, which I believe puts kopi luwak to shame) is what does the trick. Elephants feed on coffee beans, which then ferment in their gastrointestinal tract.

The beans are then plucked out by the mahouts (elephant keepers) and their wives, roasted, and sold for approximately $1,100 per kilogram. But wait, there’s more! Eight percent of all sales are donated to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. No reason is given for why this cure supposedly helps, but I’m thinking this folklore is full of … you know.
As if being in the glorious Maldives weren’t cure enough, Naladhu luxury resort has my kind of cure in mind (that’s me, right, killing a hangover in Mexico). They provide queasy guests with fresh coconut water from their own groves. All those electrolytes along with potassium stop hangovers in their tracks.

Cape Town
According to chef Reuben Riffel of One&Only Cape Town, a swank urban resort, you need to drink yourself better. His solution is an alcohol-free tonic consisting of one cup of chilled Rooibos tea (an indigenous plant), a half-cup ginger ale, and 1 ounce of lemongrass simple syrup. Top with soda water, and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Santa Fe
After many visits to Santa Fe, I’ll swear by the local’s cure for a long night. A green chile cheeseburger is the prescription, although I’d add that a bowl of great posole, green chile, or a breakfast burrito also work wonders.

Nantucket Island Resorts recommends a brisk swim in Nantucket Sound, followed by a visit to Brant Point Grill for a Lobster Bloody Mary and lobster kabobs. Now we’re talking.

Have a safe, happy, hangover-free New Year’s!

[Photo credits: elephant, Flickr user rubund; coconut, Laurel Miller]

Intrigued by Black Ivory Coffee? Watch this video!

Overseas France: Or Where You Can Find France Outside Of France

The days of colonial empires may be long over, though the United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Denmark continue each to administer a smattering of overseas territories.

Among these, France has arguably the most interesting and wide-ranging set of territories. Overseas France includes tiny St. Pierre and Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland (population around 6,000), the Caribbean overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the smaller Caribbean “overseas collectivities” of St. Martin and St. Barts, the South American overseas department of French Guiana, the Indian Ocean overseas departments of Réunion and Mayotte, and French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis & Futuna in the South Pacific.

Officially, overseas France is divided into “overseas departments” (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion), “overseas collectivities” (French Polynesia, St. Barts, St. Martin, St. Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna), and New Caledonia, which has a special status unto itself.

There are also two uninhabited French territories – a vast, noncontiguous territory with the grand name of Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, inhabited only by researchers, and, most curious of all, the uninhabited island of Clipperton, which sits off Mexico and is administered directly by the Minister of Overseas France.

Tourism is a huge economic driver in many of these territories. St. Martin, St. Barts, and French Polynesia are particularly well known to Americans. Francophone tourists are also familiar with the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, New Caledonia, and Réunion.


[Flickr image via Rayced]

St Barths hosts the rich, famous and hikers

St Barths, arguably one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, is host to the rich and famous from all over the world. But the same beauty that draws celebrities and billionaires makes for some diverse climbing, hiking, cycling and photo opportunities not found elsewhere.

“Beyonce, Lindsay Lohan, Derek Jeter and Mariah Carey love the tropical island” says ABCNews. TheStreet calls St Barts “a glitterati playground of billionaires and pop culture icons who descend between Christmas and New Years for an annual Caribbean migration of debauchery and excess.” Indeed, during our December visit, the port of Gustavia was packed with $multi-million yachts that had made their annual trek to St Barths for the holidays.

We toured the entire 8 square mile volcanic rock island by car in less than two hours. Driving up steep well-kept streets, through some heavy traffic in downtown Gustavia, we passed those yachts in port for the holidays and sidewalks packed with seasonal visitors.

On foot, walking the bustling French city, we saw a who’s who of designer label clothing and jewelry shops, sidewalk cafe’s and bakeries.

But traveling out of town, sparsely populated countryside boasted sweeping vistas with breathtaking, panoramic views. Cyclists stopped for photos and hikers paused to drink in the sweeping vistas only offered here.The countryside remains mostly untouched and probably very much like when Columbus discovered St Barths (AKA St Barts, Saint Barthelemy) in 1493. Walks, hikes and rock climbing opportunities are plentiful with difficulty levels to match just about anyone.

A walk around around Pointe Milou is mostly flat, taking a path from the main road to Colombier Beach and back adds more difficulty and a hike from Grand Fond over Morne Rouge to Saline Beach involves a lot of rock climbing. English-speaking guides are readily available since the island’s main industry is tourism. Reminiscent of Martinique visually, St Barths is very much a French island today even though it took a while for that to happen.


French colonists from nearby St Kitts first settled it in 1648. The island changed hands several times but was finally given legal status as a Department of France in 1946, much like Americans made Hawaii a state.

Today, St Barths enjoys year-round travelers coming for a luxurious experience not found elsewhere in the Caribbean. But there are also regular, normal people visiting too. (See St Barths on shoe leather and a thumb) We’re not billionaires, celebrities or famous in any way but felt safe and comfortable on this beautiful island by car and on foot.

Still, it’s hard not to stop for photos of Rudolph Nureyev’s house overlooking the ocean by day or a $50 million yacht lit up at night.

This is one of those “I could live here” places.

Photos: Whitney Owen

Ten great hotel bars to see and be “scene”

Craving insider access to the latest celeb hot spots? We’ve got the skinny on the latest “it” venues brimming with notables, views to die for and parties you just can’t miss. With venues such as these we advise you to tread carefully, for your name may be the next to end up splattered across the front page of Page Six… don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Thompson Toronto
Bringing guests one step closer to living the life of a rock-star, the recently opened Thompson Toronto has quickly become a local hot spot boasting a chic private rooftop lounge where VIP’s can sip signature Hot Toddies while taking in views of the Toronto skyline. We hear the 102-room hotel has played host to celebs such as James Franco, the Kardashians and Usher along with many more. With trendy signature restaurants including famed Chef Scott Conant’s, Scarpetta and the hot late-night staple, The Counter, Thompson Toronto is rating Extra Hot on the “Ultimate Hang Out” meter.

The Waikiki EDITION
Discreet entrances and uninhibited dancing are just a few reasons why Crazybox at the Waikiki EDITION is one of the hottest new venues around. The hot, new nightlife favorite has an exclusive VIP section with its own private entrance that is elevated above the dance floor positioning notables such as Christina Aguilera, Bruno Mars and Woody Harrelson into the center of the action, while still maintaining their privacy. For party goers who prefer the daytime scene check-out the hotel’s Sunrise pool, where the luxury set are seen sipping Mai-Tai’s and enjoying poolside spa treatments or canoodling on private day beds.

The PuLi Hotel and Spa
Pink Champagne flows freely in Shanghai’s The PuLi Hotel and Spa. The PuLi is home to a scene of its own featuring Shanghai’s “longest” wine and champagne selections by the glass. The hotel’s Long Baris usually a buzz with in-the-know locals and glitteratti alike, sipping favorites from the menu and taking in the breathtaking views from JingAn Park. Frequent movers-and-shakers include high-rollers from LVMH and The Gucci Group along with famed designer Giorgio Armani. The bars atmosphere uniquely transforms in character and mood throughout the day creating chameleon-like experiences patrons can call their own.

Hotel Cipriani

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go,” said Truman Capote, the famous author and comedian. Travelers looking for such a sweet retreat can opt for Hotel Cipriani, located on the secluded lagoon island of Guidecca in Venice. The world-renowned Orient-Express property regularly hosts such celebrities as George Clooney. Guests can even enjoy a cocktail that is inspired by the “sexiest man alive” – the “Buona Notte” – honoring the premier of “Good Night, Good Luck” at the 62nd Venice Film Festival. Boasting a panoramic view of St Mark’s Square, the waterfront Cip’s Club is an idyllic spot for those looking for a dazzling view while being seen amidst affluent travelers.

InterContinental London Park Lane
As the city – and world – prepares for this generation’s historic Royal Wedding, InterContinental London Park Lane announces the launch of a brand new bar, fittingly called The Arch Bar. Offering sweeping views of the outside gardens and parks as well as the iconic Wellington Arch, The Arch Bar is largely gin-focused, with a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients and complete with its own botanical apothecary. A wide spectrum of the highest quality spirits are available – as well as a number of virtually undiscovered artisan London producers – including 25 different gins. Favoured by notable guests during the whirlwind periods of London Fashion Week and the Frieze Art Fair, the hotel’s bar plays host to royals, key designers and artists alike, with highlights from the cocktail list including Mother’s Ruin made with Six o’Clock Gin; Tuppence Duty, a mix of champagne, fresh lemon and Fifty Pound Gin; and Ernest Roots – a new take on the classic Hemingway Daiquiri.

Mount Nelson Hotel
Mount Nelson Hotel is proud to announce the newly opened Planet Restaurant. Reflecting the hotel’s popular, celebrity-studded Planet Bar, the glamorously restyled restaurant underwent a stellar four month face-lift and now features a celestial chic design with Swarovski crystal tiles, deep blue carpet featuring the constellations and chandeliers emulating the illusion of shooting stars. Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s legendary springbok pie and tomato variation dishes are still featured on the menu, as well as a daily soufflé and indulgent degustation menus for all. Star Gazer Alert: We hear that A-listers such as Kate Moss and Prince Harry have been spotted sipping cocktails at this newly opened hot spot.

The Surrey Hotel
Be seen at The Surrey hotel located on Manhattan’s exclusive Upper East Side neighborhood and just a half block from Central Park. Step inside the hotel’s Bar Pleiades after a long day of shopping on Madison Avenue to join the scene or simply people watch over a seasonal mixed cocktail. Designer Lauren Rottet’s vision for the bar as a “stage” has come to life as The Surrey has become the newest Upper East Side haunt of mover-and-shaker neighborhood residents and the socialite crowd. During the warmer months, hotel guests can relax on the rooftop garden terrace which offers a true urban oasis with unbeatable views of the city and nearby Central Park.

W- Washington DC
Even the President knows where the celebs in DC go to party, at none other than the rooftop POV Lounge at the W Hotel. Overlooking the White House lawn, the former Hotel Washignton has been renovated into a hostpot for Beltway insiders like Valerie Jarrett and Reggie Love as well as celebs including Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Common, John Legend and many, many more. In cool weather, ask for a blanket and cozy up to their warm sips like Hot Peanut Buttered Rum and S’More Whiskey.

Hotel St. Barth Isle de France
Want to vacation like a celebrity? Hang with the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce and Fergie on the hottest island in the Caribbean – St Barth. The exclusive Hotel St. Barth Isle de France welcomes guests to its gorgeous resort positioned on the picturesque Flamands Bay. Situated amidst enchanting tropical gardens and pristine beaches, Isle de France boasts 39 rooms, suites and villas that have become a home away from home for A-listers around the world. Take in the scene at the patio bar, walk the white-sand beach, take a dip in your privateinfinity plunge pool and relax in the beauty of an intimate Caribbean retreat full of classic European charm.

Banyan Tree Bangkok
The place to be seen in Bangkok, Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar, located on the 61st Floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel, is unique in presenting a different yet aesthetic urban landscape of Bangkok with breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Since its opening in January 2002, it has fast become a hot spot for locals and visitors from all parts of the world. With a 100-guest capacity, this open-air rooftop lounge is divided into three sections – a dining courtyard, a private party lounge and the Moon Bar – for a romantic tête-à-tête, birthday celebrations, fashion launches or just to relax under a canopy of stars.

Top 10 best international cities for shopping

It’s a familiar feeling… The sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath. You’ve dreamt about this moment and it’s finally here – staring you in the face with a come hither look that says, “You know you want me” and the reality is, you do. You fumble for your wallet in the bottomless pit of a bag you carry around and rush toward the “sale” sign you spotted through the endless faces and stores on the street. Nothing will come between you and the latest must-have accessory of the season.

While there’s no better place for fashion stateside than New York or Los Angeles, the rest of the world is just waiting for you to try it on and take it home. If you enjoy a little retail therapy on your vacation, or just need a reason to get out of the country, we’ve compiled the best cities in the world for your next shopping excursion. Now is the time to balance the bank account, then hop a flight and head out to some of these best cities in the world for shopping. Just don’t forget to buy an extra suitcase so you can bring it all home.

1. Rome: From the Via Conditti to the Jewish Quarter, there is nothing a shopper can’t find in this Italian city. Rome is the birthplace of some of the world’s best fashion ideas-turned-labels, and there’s enough variation in budgets to appeal to any traveler. Stay near the Spanish Steps and you’ll only have to walk a few blocks to find the very best in designer brands or haggle over the price of a silk scarf with one of the street vendors. My suggestion: Head into the Ferragamo store on the Via Conditti and buy yourself a new pair of Italian leather gloves. They’re unlike any pair of gloves you’ve tried on in a department store back home, and every time you slip your hands in them you’ll be reminded of Rome.

2. Paris: Mention “Paris” and “shopping” in the same sentence and a girl will go weak in the knees. There are three streets you need to know: The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, and The Boulevard Saint-Germain. Take a stroll down any or all of these streets and you’re guaranteed to leave with something wrapped beautifully in a designer bag. Paris is the mecca for fashion-forward designers but holds a special place in its heart for the classics like Chanel, Chloe and Dior. If apparel and accessories aren’t your thing, head to Montmartre and visit the Artist’s Square. Shop for original artwork and jewelry, straight from the artists’ hands.

3. Marrakesh: You can rock the kasbah but can you shop the souk? First-timers to Marrakesh will be in shock when they first enter the souk; repeat visitors will be in heaven. It’s one of the most challenging shopping excursions you’ll ever come across, but also the most rewarding. The name of the game here is bargaining. From the silk stalls to the spice racks, negotiations rule the way. Remember: bargaining is a way of life for Moroccans, so don’t be afraid to test out your skills. You’ll likely walk away with a piece of pottery or one-of-a-kind hand-woven Moroccan rug for significantly less than you’d pay for in the states. Word of advice: Before you start shopping, take a moment to take it all in. The souk is one of the most exciting places in the world filled with some of the most exotic scents and spices. Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, inhale the atmosphere, then get shopping!4. Milan: If Rome is the home to some of the world’s best shopping, Milan is where you’ll find designers’ pending debuts. Milan is Rome’s secret weapon – a pleasure seekers paradise dressed in the best fabrics, prints and cuts possible. Catwalks come alive in Milan. Break out your best pair gladiator platforms and strut down the secret alleyways where you’ll find some of fashion’s best kept secrets. You’ll go home with something completely extraordinary and one-of-a-kind… and likely the envy of all your friends at next season’s fashion week.

5. Berlin: The German hot-spot is steadily climbing up the fashion ladder. Typically known for its industrial atmosphere, Berlin is fast becoming the see-and-be-seen art center and welcoming a few more fashion houses to the mix. The best part about shopping in Berlin? Because the designers are so new to the area, the discounts are beyond compare. Take time to walk through lofts and boutiques and you’ll find some of fashion’s hidden gems in the racks at a fraction of the cost.

6. Sydney: This Australian city is quite comparable to New York when it comes to shopping. You can get anything you want in Sydney, you just have to know where to go. Start at the Queen Victoria Building and peruse the 400 shops that range from hand-drawn world maps to designer boutiques and antique stores. If you’re feeling a bit more spendy, head to Castlereagh Street and shop the designer boutiques, or take a spin along Circular Quay for some kitschy items to take back home with you.

7. Hong Kong: Throw away the preconceived notions of Hong Kong as an electronics-only shopping mecca. The gadget-friendly Hong Kong has come a long way in shopping and today offers visitors everything from street markets to mega malls. Pick up anything and everything in Hong Kong, from jade to silk, to the latest electronics and far-out gadgets. The Jade Market in Yau Ma Tai is a must – walk through 400 stalls all laden with the green gem said to symbolize long life and good health.

8. London: No one does fashion quite like London. The UK’s most popular city also features some of the most unique designs. Just look around when you’re out for a stroll – Londeners dress in all sorts of varieties, from regal to conventional to funky and retro. Shop the trendy boutiques of Covent Garden and Marylebone High Street, or shop the stalls of Camden Market and Portobello Market, a haven for antiques and once-owned treasures. Of course, once can’t miss a stop inside the famous Harrods, if nothing else to buy a shopping tote of the same name to carry all your purchases.

9. Buenos Aires: Buenos Aires is home to some of the world’s most beautiful people so it’s only appropriate they wear the most beautiful clothes. So where to the beautiful go when they want to shop? They head downtown, where streets ooze chain stores and retailers waiting to take your pesos. Those with more money to spend head to the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta. Don’t leave Buenos Aires without some leather — the handbags, jackets, shoes and belts are the best leather goods in the world and offered at an excellent value. Remember, the beauty of Buenos Aires isn’t just in what you wear… it’s how you wear it.

10. St. Barths: When most people think of the Caribbean they lose their thoughts to white sand beaches, blue waters and boats. But the French-owned St. Barthélemy (a.k.a. St. Barths) has all these things and more: it’s known as the capital of the Caribbean shopping scene. Thanks to endless duty-free stores, shopping at Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, and Hermes can be less expensive than if you shopped in the states and, many of items in stock in the Caribbean aren’t available stateside, which makes them unique to your collection.