Explore South African Luxury From Land to Sea

This winter take a vacation to remember by experiencing one of the many alluring and adventurous cities in South Africa. With their summer occurring during America’s winter months, escape the snow to enjoy stunning landscapes and the shores of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The country’s sandy beaches and untouched forests will leave you in awe of the natural scenery as you explore one of the best destinations in the Southern Hemisphere.

Photo: South Africa

 

Cape Town

One of the most popular regions in South Africa is Cape Town, a port city located on the southwest coast. With open views of the mountains and a bustling harbor, there’s plenty to fall in love with during your stay. The award-winning 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa will impress with colorful, glamorous décor to complement their state-of-the-art facilities. The Ellerman House promises scenic views of the ocean along with intimate villas to make you feel right at home. Nearby in Constantia, the Cape’s oldest wine valley, a stay at The Last Word puts you right in the center of the country’s top wine estates and world-renowned restaurants. Cape Town is home to a number of fine dining options including GINJA, a chic, artisanal restaurant along the harbor. La Colombe exceeds expectations bringing a French flair to a contemporary vineyard style eatery.

 

Photo: 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa

Photo: The Last Word

Photo: The Last Word

Johannesburg

This flourishing South African metropolis is home to a number of sophisticated spots for travelers to get a taste of the high life while just stopping by or taking in an extended stay. The Saxon Hotel is a boutique property featuring picturesque gardens and their signature ‘Sound Therapy’ treatment for relaxation. Get a taste of Johannesburg’s best cuisine at DW Eleven – 13, a fine dining spot highlighting global dishes with an experimental twist. For an eclectic flair, a visit to award-winning Carnivore will heighten the senses with meats cooked over an open fire in the midst of African accented décor. Pigalle at the Melrose Arch Piazza brings a refreshing atmosphere to the city as private balconies and a glass wine cellar promote an elegant and modern dining experience.

 

Photo: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

Photo: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

Photo: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

Photo: Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

KwaZulu-Natal

For an adventurous experience in the natural wilderness of sub-tropical forests and historic Zulu battlefields, the province of KwaZulu-Natal gives you a South African experience you’ll never forget. The Oyster Box is a luxury hotel that stands as a colonial landmark on the edge of the coast. With nostalgic charm combined with modern amenities, their beachfront suites and villas are complemented by a 24-seat movie theater and various health and wellness treatments. To take a walk on the wild side, travelers can visit the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, a wildlife sanctuary known for its diversity of ecosystems and lush environment. Their Forest Lodge allows eco-conscious adventurers to live in private “Zulu Zen” suites, each complete with a personal bar and plunge pool. To dine at the city’s best, visitors can try a South African spin on Cuban cuisine at Little Havana, a stylish restaurant voted the Best Steakhouse in South Africa.

 

Photo: The Oyster Box

Photo: &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

Photo: &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

Garden Route

One of the country’s best kept secrets is the Garden Route, stretching from Cape Town to Mossel Bay. Running along the south-eastern coast, visitors can discover a variety of outdoor activities such as dolphin and whale watching, golfing, bungee jumping, and canopy tours. The Views Boutique Hotel & Spa features 18 suites that sit right along the ocean in the heart of Garden Route. Remotely located, visitors can enjoy a private, intimate experience that’s also easily accessible to the nearby George Airport. In the resort town of Plettenberg Bay, The Plettenberg offers unmatched views with individually decorated rooms for guests to take in their own unique perspective. A must-try restaurant along the route is Serendipity, a waterfront establishment that utilizes sustainable sources to bring fresh, organic ingredients to the dinner table.

 

Photo: Views Boutique Hotel & Spa

Photo: Views Boutique Hotel & Spa

Photo: Views Boutique Hotel & Spa

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For information on travel accommodations, reservations, or hotel bookings, contact concierge@zochagroup.com.

 

Photo: The Last Word

Photo: The Last Word

Photo: The Oyster Box

Photo: The Oyster Box

Photo: The Ellerman House

Photo: The Ellerman House

Photo: &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

Photo: &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

 

A Guide to Houston Hot Spots for Super Bowl LI

Celebrating the Super Bowl is one of America’s favorite traditions with fans cheering on their teams at bars and house parties alike. With the big event taking place in Houston this year, America’s fourth-largest city, the streets will be packed with football fans searching for the best places to stay, dine, and party. You’ll be able to experience all that Houston has to offer and get in the Super Bowl spirit by checking out any of these venues during your visit.

Photo: Tom Pennington | Winslow Townson

 

Hotels

Combine sophistication with your partying at one of the city’s many luxury hotels. The award-winning Hotel ICON brings a contemporary flair to the streets of Downtown Houston. The neoclassic architecture and period detail gives a grand presence, and is in close proximity to the nearby sports district. Situated in the museum district, you can dive into the vibrant Hotel ZaZa, a trendy and artistic option that will give you a feast for the senses and an after-party feel at the hotel bar. The Omni Hotel also boasts landscape views to go along with their Four Diamond services and amenities. With traditional contemporary décor and impressive dining options, you can’t go wrong booking your stay in the heart of Houston’s cultural centers.

 

Photo: Hotel ICON

Restaurants

While Superbowl cuisine usually involves chowing down on hot wings and takeout pizza, you may want to switch it up at one of Houston’s countless dining spots. Grab a taste of Tex-Mex by visiting local hotspot La Grange, where you can enjoy fresh tequila drinks and appetizing Mexican dishes on their outdoor patio. For a funky fusion of Southern American, Asian, Mexican, and German dishes, State of Grace, the brainchild of James Beard award nominee Ford Fry, brings a diversity of flavors to your palate. If your taste leans towards fine dining, Vic & Anthony’s Steak House serves up perfect steaks and mouth-watering crab cakes that will create a dinner to remember during your visit.

 

Photo: State of Grace

Nightlife

Your first priority may be to see the big game, but the nightlife scene will also be worth checking out to experience the energetic vibe that keeps locals partying all year long. On Saturday the 4th, the nightclub Vrsi will get in the spirit with a Super Bowl pop-up party hosted by Los Angeles hot spot Bootsy Bellows, and feature an appearance from rapper G-Eazy. For a more intimate night out and an unparalleled wine selection, you can head to 13 Celsius, where their wine is stored at just the right temperature for hot Houston days. Stop by during earlier hours for a party environment, or late night for a romantic ambiance. To get an education in spirits of all kinds, you can head to Reserve 101 where their extensive selection of whiskey, rye, bourbon, and scotch is maintained by knowledgeable bartenders who make sure to find your perfect flavor.

 

Photo: Reserve 101

Events

The town will be buzzing with celebration as locals and visitors search for fun things to do revolving around the February 5th broadcast. The free event Super Bowl LIVE is sure to draw in hundreds during its nine-day run at Discovery Green. With virtual reality thrill rides and live music performances, the event will be fun for all ages from January 28th-February 5th. For a more club-like celebration, the Houston Power Party, hosted inside the Houston Museum of Natural Science on February 2nd, is an exclusive event featuring special exhibits, sports celebrity guests, and a DJ to keep up the vibe all night long. One of the most highly-coveted tickets will be for the two-day Victoria’s Secret 14th Annual Leather and Laces party at Hughes Manor. With Donnie Wahlberg hosting on February 3rd, and Victoria’s Secret angels Adriana Lima and Sara Sampaio on the 4th, this opulent extravaganza is sure to bring in Houston’s finest to revel in the spirit of Super Bowl LI.

 

Photo: Hughes Manor Campus

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For information on booking hotel stay, restaurant reservation, nightclub table, or event tickets, please contact concierge@zochagroup.com.

 

Photo: NRG Stadium

Photo: Houston, Texas

Photo: Hotel Zaza

Photo: Omni Houston at Westside

Photo: Omni Houston at Westside

Photo: NFL

Photo: NFL

 

 

A Winter Holiday in Courchevel

Summer isn’t the only season for travel as winter months bring blankets of snow to the French Alps—one of the most beautiful regions in the world. The Courchevel ski resort holds true to France’s romantic reputation as many flock to enjoy the breathtaking views, fine dining, and world class skiing. If you’re planning to take advantage of the fresh powder this winter, Courchevel could be the perfect destination for your next getaway.

Photo: Courchevel 1850

 

Luxury Hotels

At each of Courchevel’s villages, named after the four altitude levels of the resort, you can enjoy the comforts of luxury living. But at the highest altitude, Courchevel 1850, the palatial hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants keep you living the high life. The five-star L’Apogée hotel boasts a chic, trendy ambiance with spacious rooms overlooking views of the valley. The new Barrière Les Neiges Hotel sits on the slope of the Bellecôte mountain, allowing skiers easy access to glide down to the lifts right from the heated outdoor terrace. There are also multiple chalet options like the Shemshak Lodge, which features a pool, steam room, and gym to enhance your stay.

 

Photo: L’Apogée

Fine Dining

In between trips down the slopes, you’ll be able to feast on decadent cuisine assembled by world-renowned chefs. At Azimut, you can taste local delicacies by Chef and owner François Mouraux, who creates accessible dishes with upscale quality. One of the resort’s favorites is Chabichou, a two-Michelin Star eatery with elegant gourmet dining to complement the traditional décor. To see and be seen, Verdons is the place be with its extravagant menu and relaxed, social atmosphere.

 

Photo: Azimut

Skiing

The main attraction of Courchevel is its unparalleled skiing for recreational skiers and experts alike. One of the largest lift-linked places to ski in the world, the Les Trois Vallées has over 170 lifts with Courchevel visitors calling the Saint-Bon valley home during their stay. Travelers get to enjoy the landscapes while coasting the local slopes, like the Courchevel 1300 ski jumping hill built for the 1992 Olympics.

 

Photo: Courchevel

Photo: Courchevel

 

With the numerous reasons to explore all that Courchevel has to offer, the winter season will be packed with visitors looking to live in the lap of luxury while they embrace the fresh powder. Events like the International Fireworks Festival and the 3 Vallées Enduro competition will also draw in hundreds looking for entertainment during their holiday. As the weather in France keeps the snow falling, Courchevel may be the best place to embrace the cold during your next winter vacation.

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For information on booking a stay in Courchevel, please contact concierge@zochagroup.com.

 

Photo: Barrière Les Neiges

Photo: Zocha Group

Photo: Zocha Group

Photo: Courchevel

Photo: Courchevel

Photo: L’Apogée

Photo: Azimut

 

LA’s Newest Luxury Hotel Openings

With sunny skies, entertainment, and plenty of places to wine and dine, Los Angeles has continued to uphold its reputation as being one of the top travel destinations in the world. The market for new hotel options is booming alongside the fast-growing demand for places to stay in the city. A mix of both established veterans and up-and-coming brands have set their sights on LA hoping to capitalize on all that the West Coast locale has to offer.

Photo: Zocha Group

 

The Freehand

Taking over the historic Commercial Exchange building in Downtown LA, Sydell Group’s 226-room Freehand features both hotel and hostel options with trendy design and furnishings. The rooftop deck will be home to Broken Shaker, a hand-crafted cocktail bar concept that earned the achievement of being a James Beard Award semifinalist for their Miami Beach location.

 

Photo: Freehand LA

Dream Hollywood

Dream Hotel Group is bringing a new brand to Hollywood with the 182-room Dream Hotel. Partnering with TAO Group for Food & Beverage and Debut Hotel Group for management, the new project will have a strong presence in the nightlife scene with a restaurant, rooftop lounge, and lobby bar for convenient entertainment. New York’s Rockwell Group will contribute mid-century modern décor for sophistication and style.

 

Photo: Dream Hotel

Nobu Ryokan Malibu

Known for his world-renown venue Nobu, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is expanding his brand to include a “ryokan,” or traditional Japanese inn. The highly-anticipated, beachfront lodging will feature 11 suites and five bungalows overlooking the waves of the Pacific Ocean. With limited accommodations, the venture will undoubtedly be one of the most exclusive stays in Malibu, opening alongside the Chef’s new sushi spot in the spring.

 

Photo: Studio PCH

Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown

Once open, the Wilshire Grand Center will house the new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, altogether beating out OUE Skyspace LA to become the tallest U.S. building west of the Mississippi River. This 900-room, 73 story monolith will feature breathtaking views of the cityscape with a “sky lobby” for guests to congregate on the 70th floor. Korean Air and Hanjin Group have collaborated to create the hotel, office and retail space that will make its mark on Downtown LA.

 

Photo: Intercontinental

The James West Hollywood-Sunset

James Hotels, Denihan Hospitality Group’s luxury brand, will be contributing to WeHo’s hospitality options with their 286-room hotel slated for the corner of Sunset and La Cienega. Boasting panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills, the location will also feature a rooftop bar, meeting space, and two restaurants—one of which will be an Italian concept operated by Los Angeles veterans SBE.

 

Photo: The James Hotel

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills will become even more luxurious with the Waldorf Astoria brand opening their first hotel in the LA area. The design will feature streamline moderne architecture to unite modern sophistication with classic Hollywood nostalgia. Seated next to the Beverly Hilton, the property will have 170 rooms on 12 floors, along with fine dining by Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in their lounge, cocktail bar, and rooftop.

 

Photo: Waldorf Astoria

Nomad Hotel

Already a hot spot in New York, the Los Angeles Nomad Hotel will be taking over the 1923 Giannini Place bank building in Downtown LA. Formerly a Bank of America headquarters, Sydell Group’s plans to revive the historic building to highlight the staunch exterior with an extravagant interior. The 12 stories will house 250 stylish rooms and a rooftop pool with landscape views of the city.

 

Photo: LA Times

Cambria El Segundo

For those looking for a place to stay near bustling LAX, Cambria El Segundo is one of Choice Hotels’ newest projects to reach the city. The 152-room, upscale lodging will be accompanied by a restaurant called Social Circle, along with all the amenities needed for stylish, modern travelling. The central location places the hotel near various shopping centers, business parks and also a METRO station.

 

Photo: Choice Hotels

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2017 New Year’s Resolutions of Successful People

The New Year has arrived and a fresh start often means a new set of goals to accomplish over the next 365 days. While “new year, new me” is simple enough for many, entrepreneurs have plenty of inspirational resolutions that may encourage the rest of us to step up our game and embrace the blank slate of opportunity. From celebrities to CEOs, these go-getters share their plans for betterment in 2017.

 

Natalie Portman, Academy-Award Winning Actress:

“I think everyone needs to do what’s right for them. And every woman knows the pressures on appearance, but something that one of my friends did that I sort of copied which I liked was to make categories for resolutions, and it wasn’t one thing, so it was like, what do I want to do for my friends, what do I want to do for my family, what do I want to do for my community, what do I want to do for myself?”

 

Photo: Natalie Portman Handout

Tracee Ellis Ross, Producer and Actress:

“I think a New Year’s resolution would be to be gentle with yourself. I like to call it ‘gentle, gentle,” because sometimes you need that second reminder. So it’s like, make space for being soft with yourself.”

 

Photo: Creative Commons

Scott Lipps, CEO and founder of One Management:

“I vow to use more products this year! Very rarely do I use products other than soap and a bit of a moisturizer so this next year gonna take extra care of my skin! It’s all you’ve got!”

 

Photo: Natalie Brasington

Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder and CEO of Birchbox:

“The year ahead is all about elevating my confidence and celebrating the incredible accomplishments of life. I’ve always been confident to an extent, but it wasn’t a well I could draw from in the hardest moments. I’ve realized that it isn’t about perfection — it’s about owning your strengths, having the humility to see where you need the strength of others, and being open and impressionable to change. It’s within my reach and I feel now more than ever that this type of confidence in everyone will be critical to the future we all want to see come to fruition.”

 

Photo: Elle

Danny Meyer, Founder of Shake Shack:

“My New Year’s resolution is once and for all to spend significantly less time reading and writing emails, and far more time being present and looking people in the eye.”

 

Photo: Amelinda B Lee

Zendaya, Actress and Singer:

“… My mom recently took a pic of me looking down at my phone when [we] were out to dinner. She captioned it, ‘dinner with @zendaya and her phone.’ Sorry, mom! I just start scrolling and tune everybody out. Seriously, I’ve gotta do a detox.”

 

Photo: Zendaya

Stephen Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor:

“My New Year’s resolution is to use the power and influence of TripAdvisor’s brand to aid in the humanitarian refugee crisis that we’re seeing in many parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe today. In addition to our commitment to organizations like Mercy Corps and The International Rescue Committee, I want to encourage others in the travel industry and around the world to take action and help provide refugees with critical access to information, essential education opportunities, and resettlement support. It’s one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our generation. Years from now, I want my grandkids to know that I joined with others and chose to help, if only in a small way.”

 

Photo: Stephen Kaufer

Helen Mirren, Academy-Award Winning Actress:

“Stop procrastinating. That’s my new year’s resolution for everybody, but mostly for myself. Don’t procrastinate, just don’t. I have my whole life and every year I have to make the same resolution because I always procrastinate.”

 

Photo: Helen Mirren

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx:

“I just joined Instagram this past fall (late to the party!) when I launched my book, ‘The Belly Art Project,’ to create awareness for maternal health. One of my 2017 resolutions is to use my social platforms to build awareness for organizations that empower women. Being philanthropic can be fun and isn’t always about making a financial contribution.”

 

Photo: Spanx

Neil Vogel, CEO of About.com:

“My almost-three-year old is obsessed with the guitar, so my goal is to learn to play guitar serviceably. Only then will I be on par with his other great hero, Spiderman.”

 

Photo: About.com

Gina Rodriguez, Golden Globe Winning Actress:

“My resolutions are again, they’re constantly, they’re daily, and they’re usually focused on self love and working on not turning the knife on myself, not tearing myself down, fighting fear, trying something that scares me at least once every day, and not allowing rejection or failure to stop me from trying…”

 

Photo: Hollywire

Drew and Jonathan Scott, HGTV’s Property Brothers:

“Both of our New Year’s resolutions include more travel… but specifically to places we have never been. As color will be big in 2017, we’re hoping to find vibrant inspiration in exotic parts of the globe we have yet to experience. Stay tuned.”

 

Photo: HGTV

 

Whether your sights are set on smaller personal goals, or your plans are to revolutionize your industry, this year provides a brand new start in making it happen. Take the advice from these noteworthy individuals for a prosperous and rewarding 2017.

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The Biggest Food Trends for 2017

There’s no way to know exactly what you’ll be eating for dinner six months from now… or is there? Predictions of what will be the trendiest foods of the New Year are being made as consumers broaden their tastes to include a variety of eclectic flavors. These buzzed about foods may hint at what might become your newest obsession before you ever place your order.

Photo: sbe

 

Matcha

We’ve seen matcha creeping onto drink menus within the past year, and you should expect to see more of this green tea alternative sticking it out through 2017. As a type of green tea, it’s made with powdered tea leaves rather than steeping the leaves with water. With studies showing its health benefits and fat burning perks, you won’t see this superfood disappearing from your Instagram feed any time soon.

 

Photo: Zocha Group

Mediterranean

While veterans of Mediterranean-style cooking may have been indulging in kebabs and gyros for a while now, many unfamiliar with the cuisine will see more opportunities to taste the region’s array of spices and flavors. Keep an eye out for things like for tzatziki sauce and the spice sumac showing up on 2017’s ingredient lists.

 

Photo: Cleo

Purple Veggies

Purple is the new green when it comes to getting your daily dose of vegetables in the upcoming year. The color is often a signal of the presence of antioxidants, and the consumption of purple fruits and vegetables has also been linked to reducing the risk of high blood pressure and maintaining low cholesterol. From cauliflower to asparagus, acai to sweet potatoes, consumers won’t be able to get enough of these vibrant, pops of color showing up on their plates.

 

Photo: Kris Kelly

Fried Chicken

This comfort food go-to has seen a boom in recent years with many being attracted to the homestyle flavor. From chicken and waffles to chicken sandwiches, these classic dishes have taken on a health-conscious twist with organic and meat-free options often available. In the upcoming year you can expect to see more restaurants featuring their take on this traditional Southern staple.

 

Photo: Zocha Group

Ube

This popular Filipino dessert ingredient has recently made its way into American restaurants thanks to its semi-sweet flavor and striking purple coloring. Pronounced ‘OO-bay,’ this yam relative has been used in Filipino dishes to often celebrate special occasions. Thanks to social media’s addiction to food photography, Ube has been a highly featured dessert ingredient that won’t be disappearing in 2017.

 

Photo: Junbelen

Sardines

With a reputation for a pungent smell, sardines will finally have their time to shine as chefs warm up to harnessing the flavors this protein-packed fish has to offer. Along with other smaller fish like anchovies and smelt, the upcoming year will involve highlighting new ways to feature these fish as toppings on salads, pizza, and frying them to eat on their own.

 

Photo: Bridget Oland

Childhood Desserts

There’s no need to say goodbye to your childhood sweet tooth with plenty of nostalgic desserts popping up on restaurant menus in 2017. Some of your favorite classics will be back onto your radar as many eateries are aiming to put their own twist on a variety of treats. Sugary churros are making their way onto plates alongside wild, over-the-top milkshakes. And there will be no need for a campfire as delectable s’mores-inspired dishes become commonplace on the dessert menu.

 

Photo: Black Tap

 

Embracing variety will be the key to taking advantage of all the newest trends sprouting from restaurants and kitchens across the country. Old favorites will have some new competition as consumers broaden their shopping habits to include some of the most buzzed about foods. No matter your tastes and preferences, there’s something for everyone as we welcome all the new ways to indulge in 2017.

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