richard, Author at RichardCrawfordLuxury.com

One Night in Paris

Posted by | Hotels, Luxury, Luxury Travel, Paris, Travel | No Comments

One of the world’s most popular destinations, Paris, offers a multitude of things to do and places to see. Like most major travel destinations, there can never be enough time to see it all. There are endless supplies of tourist guides and travel resources that can assist you in putting together an itinerary, however, if you can harvest a few hours on any given day from late afternoon til the wee hours of the morning, I promise this itinerary will give you an evening of enchantment.

Your evening will begin at The Bar Le Vue atop the Hyatt Regency hotel in the Porte Maillot district. As you step out of the elevator on the 34th floor and ascend the small stairway into the plush space, you will immediately realize its reputation as the ultimate vantage point for taking in the city. It provides a panoramic vista that will imprint a postcard image in your memory forever. The cityscape bows to its greatest monuments: The Eiffel tower and Arc De Triumph.  Every seat is front row viewing and the ambience is luxurious. As you sip on a favorite cocktail and the shadows lengthen, allow yourself to be absorbed by the city’s beauty as the history of Paris plays out before you. You can almost hear the cries from an age of revolution, sense the gathering of artists and literal genius, smell the smoke and fires of its occupancy and then rejoice in its liberation as the sun sets.

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The City of Light was a nickname originally bestowed on Paris because of its reputation as a gathering place of the “Enlightened.” Then, in 1828, the Champs-Elysees was lit by gas lamps, reinforcing its reputation through double entendre. Now, as the sun drops below the horizon and the vibrant modern bulbs blanket the city in a twinkling golden hue, Bar le Vue presents Act II of a magnificent performance. Of course all of this should be enjoyed with another cocktail in hand.  (It should be noted that the libations on offer come at a steep price but when you realize you are buying a glorious experience and creating a lasting memory, you will find the means to justify the cost.)  The Eiffel Tower retains prominence at night; draped in a negligee of golden luminosity she sweeps the city with a beam of light from a beacon on her crown. The climax of this spectacle happens on the hour every evening.  20,000 bright, white, sparkling lights create a frenzy of effervescence that make her visible form 80km away.  For a full five minutes each hour the majestic monument injects vitality into the streets below guaranteeing long nights of fete and carnival.

It’s now time to loosen the tie and let down the hair and make your way to the Latin Quarter.  Traditionally the home to several institutions of higher learning (Latin was the language of choice), this area became a Bohemian utopia. In recent years the renovations have perhaps removed some of the essence of its past, but the feverish energy of the streets and a keen sense of adventure will help sustain the momentum of the evening.

It’s time to kick it up a gear and enter Le Caveau de la Huchette Jazz Club. The street level entry presents you with a quite unassuming bar but the 16th century structure is undeniably genuine. Since its conversion to a jazz club in 1946 (the first in Paris), La Huchette has played host to many great American and French jazz artists including Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Claude Luter and Claude Bolling.  The drinks menu is modest and caters to a simplistic taste, but you get a feeling of vitality that seems to rise up through the soles of your shoes. There is a distant rhythm, a beat that suggests a life force somewhere deep within the foundations.  Follow your curiosity and descend a small stone staircase toward the front of the building. What awaits you is a cavernous space so full of verve and frenzy that it could be the heartbeat of the city itself.  A cellar formed by a labyrinth of stone pillars and arches so strong and dense that the music couldn’t escape if it wanted to. The bands play swing and jazz; it’s noisy, brassy, vociferous and absolutely entrancing.   The center space is the dance floor packed with locals and tourists alike, dancing wildly with swinging arms and legs in a style recognizable from the early post war era. You will immediately be charmed and the house lights will turn on before you are ready for the evening to end.

Both of the venues I recommend offer a very contrasting approach to Paris, but I stand by my pledge – combined they will deliver an unforgettable evening.  You will adore Paris’ charm and beauty from afar, and appreciate its spirit and soul deep within its hidden catacombs. When you awake the following morning in a foggy haze, you can take comfort in the knowledge that what seemed like a dream was in fact real.

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Jeans Just For You

Posted by | Bespoke, Caribbean, Clothing, Fashion, Luxury, Travel | No Comments

We all have our favorite pair of jeans in our wardrobe; they are well worn, comfortable, perfectly fitting and versatile. They evoke confidence and attitude. In some instances we almost develop a kinship with them.  So when we finally have to give them up and admit that they are beyond repair, it can be a daunting experience finding the ideal replacements.

Fortunately there is a solution — a place where the quest to find the impeccable pair of jeans becomes a pleasant and successful experience.  Around the globe, “Jean Bars” are offering the discerning customer an opportunity to find the perfect jeans.   I found mine at The Jean Bar in Camana Bay, Grand Cayman Island.

Staying true to the heritage of denim, The Jean Bar sets the tone with its old Western saloon theme. Adorned with a Stetson Hat and Cowboy boots, my “Jeantender” Kaitlin sits me down on a tractor seat stool and we open the menu.

There are tough decisions to make, so having the luxury of Kaitlin’s assistance puts me at ease.  We discuss style, color, fade, and of course, the many prestigious brands on offer including DL1961, JBrand, Citizens of Humanity, 7 for all Mankind, True Religion, Paige, Guess, Marciano, Diesel, Rock & Republic, Not your Daughter’s Jeans, Ralph Lauren, Robert Graham, Calvin Klein, Cookie Johnson, Sky Dresses, Free People and more.

When all the aesthetic evaluations have been debated and options concluded, I am comforted by the fact that any small adjustments that need to be made can be measured and tailored in the store.   I am a very satisfied customer. The combination of personal service and choice products has ensued my ultimate goal in denim shopping, a perfect harmony between my jeans and my derrière. Check out my experience in the video below.

 

 

 

 

GUEST POST: 9 of the Plushest Cigar Lounges in America

Posted by | Cigars, Luxury, Travel | No Comments

What is it about cigars that associate them with class, prestige, cultural significance and artistry? As it turns out, a lot. Although we’d like to leave it up to you to determine the charm and sophistication that comes with a good cigar, we’d also like to provide nine exemplary mentions of American cigar lounges that embody plush and luxurious cigar smoking accommodations.

The below list of nine of the plushest cigar lounges is brought to you by 9cigars.

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1. Grand Havana Room
Beverly Hills, CA
http://www.grandhavana.com/home.html
The Grand Havana Room is a member’s only cigar lounge that also includes a dining room and rarified cigars. Although the Grand Havana Room holds two distinct properties – one in New York and the other in Beverly Hills – you can expect to see more celebrities enjoying the Beverly Hills grounds which can only be entered via a private elevator. The centerpiece of the club is the humidor of humidors, a glassed-in room featuring 350 blond-wood lockers, each featuring the names of the who’s who in Hollywood and others who are happy to live a life of quiet opulence.

2. Vintage Wine & Cigars
Huntsville, AL
http://www.vintagewineandcigars.com
The 2-story cigar lounge at Vintage Wine & Cigars is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet evening or spark up a good conversation with Huntsville’s most sophisticated crowd. Complementing your favorite cigars are Vintage’s huge selection of imported wines and beers, all awaiting the opportunity to pleasure your palate. This is southern hospitality with an infusion of old world charm.

3. Club Macanudo
New York, NY
http://www.clubmacanudo.com/index.php
Nestled in the heart of New York’s Upper East Side, Club Macanudo is a stylish place to catch up with friends, conduct business and even bring your significant other. A state-of-the-art ventilation system makes this venue the perfect environment for smokers and non-smokers, and the connoisseur’s selection of food, drink and cigars is sure to please all of your guests. While Club Macanudo is open to the public it is not open to those who aren’t appropriately dressed.

4. Cigar Masters
Boston, MA
http://www.cigarmasters.com
Cigar Masters originally set out to create an ambiance where fine cigars could be enjoyed while relaxing in a comfortable environment. Originally just a coffee and cigar stop, Cigar Masters has evolved to award such prestigious recognition as Boston’s Best, Top 10 in the Country by Cigar Aficionado and Top 20 Cigar Bars in the Country by GQ Magazine. Cigar Masters will not be seen in any advertisements, they rely strictly on word of mouth patronage and appreciate the fine art of conversation.

5. Havana Club
Baltimore, MA
http://www.havanaclub-baltimore.com/
Boasting the role as Baltimore’s hottest upscale nightclub, Havana Club delivers while offering beautifully appointed settings with lush leather chairs, private seating areas, and an extensive wine list. For those smokers who wish to mix cigars and nightlife, Havana Club offers an ideal locale for private parties or a night on the town.

6. Burn by Rocky Patel
Naples, FL
http://www.burnbyrockypatel.com/
As if Rocky Patel’s name didn’t already precede him in the cigar world, this lounge will surely solidify him on the map of truly great cigar lounges. His lounge features an exotic mix of Mediterranean, Asian, and Cuban accents, and of course the full line of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars and those of other notable manufactures. Burn offers both indoor and outdoor lounging areas and a full selection of cocktails, wines, reserves and cordials.

7. Casa De Montecristo
Chicago, IL
http://casademontecristo-chicago.com
Chicago’s Casa De Montecristo is best known for a private VIP lounge that offers exclusive benefits and personalized services. Membership includes private access, private humidified lockers, a business conference room, a theater room and more. Casa De Montecristo is an ideal venue for business, relaxation, or a classy location to enjoy sporting events.

8. Ashton Cigar Bar
Philadelphia, PA
http://www.ashtoncigarbar.com/
Ashton is situated in the heart of Philadelphia’s Center City district, conveniently located on the top of Holt’s Cigar Company, the city’s oldest cigar store. Exposed brick walls, wood floors and ceilings, modern furniture and chandelier lighting are all comfortable accents to Ashton’s selection of 200 premium cigars, 250 whiskies and 400 total spirits. Comfortable leather seats and state-of-the-art ventilation make this cigar lover’s oasis a pleasurable experience beyond expectation.

9. Corona Cigar
Orlando, FL (Downtown location)
http://www.coronacigar.com/Downtown-Store/
Situated in vibrant Downtown Orlando, Corona Cigar is known for its wide selection of cigars, wine and spirits and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating. Authentic Nicaraguan furniture, Latin music and one of the world’s largest selections of fine Cognacs, aged single-malt Scotches, small-batch bourbons, prohibition-era whiskies and pre-embargo Cuban rums make this locale one of a kind. Stop by for a drink or choose from over two million in stock cigars. Don’t be surprised if one of your favorite cigar icons is sitting across from you; Corona Cigar attracts the likes of famous international cigar makers such as Carlos and Carlito Fuente, Jorge and Orlando Padron, Avo Uvezian, Rocky Patel, Don Pepin and many more.

Get Comfortable and Light up a Smoke
Plush cigar lounges are popping up all over the country and there is a good chance there is one near you. If not, make it a point to stop by one of these unique destinations and enjoy the life well lived while smoking on your favorite stogie.

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About 9cigars: 9cgars provides 9 cigars curated each month by people who enjoy cigars as much as you do. Learn more at www.9cigars.com.

Cigar Safari Preview

Posted by | Cigars, Luxury, Nicaragua, Travel | 11 Comments

As with most of the finer things in life, a deeper understanding leads to a profound appreciation and ultimately an enhanced experience or enjoyment. No one knows this better than the pioneering owners of the Drew Estate Cigar Company in Estelí, Nicaragua. A four-day excursion through the land of rivers and volcanoes immerses the visitor completely into the world of cigar production. From “seed to smoke,” the tour offers a profound body of knowledge that guarantees a lifelong appreciation of fine premium cigars. Check out my video below and if you haven’t already done so make sure you sign up for a once in a lifetime opportunity to join me on the next Cigar Safari in March 2014

HudsonMod Magazine – Dubai 2013 Big Boy Toys Revealed

Posted by | Dubai, Luxury, Travel | No Comments

In a land where traffic police actually drive Lamborghini’s (as that is the only way they can keep up with and catch speeders), Dubai presents itself as the perfect playground to host an annual Big Boys Toys Event. It’s an extravaganza for the world’s wealthiest to “try and buy” the newest, greatest, and innovative playthings that fetch a ticket price that would surpass the GDP of some small countries. Fortunately, for a small entry fee, the general public can gain insight into this fantastical world. Read the article below and enjoy my short video of some of the things that were offered.

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Seven Fathoms Rum: One Deep Spirit for MadeMan.com

Posted by | Luxury, Rum, Spirits | No Comments

A common term used in the world of whisky is “Angel’s Share.” This is the name given to the volume of aging spirit lost in evaporation from the cask during maturation. There is a small rum company in the Cayman Islands called Seven Fathoms Rum who mature their rum in the most unique fashion, 7 fathoms under the sea. An ingenious method that allows the barrels to be rocked back and forth with the underwater currents causing agitation and maximum interaction between the wood of the cask and its contents, imparting deep profound flavor profiles. Though the evaporation rate is slightly less than that of the casks on terra firma, the mermaids can enjoy their share just like their heavenly cousins. Check out this article I wrote for MadeMan.com to get a full insight into the delicious spirit that is Seven Fathoms Rum.

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