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David Paul Appell's Blog (196)

In Israel, A Tel Aviv Suburb On A Museums Spree

by David Paul Appell

The suburbs of the world have generally not been considered hotbeds of serious culture (sorry, multiplexes screening Gnomeo and Juliet and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never don’t count). But in Israel, the municipality of Holon, some…

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Added by David Paul Appell on February 14, 2011 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Colombia's Cartagena de Indias Tarts It Up Yet Keeps It Real

by David Paul Appell

When it comes to birthday parties in Latin America — these days at least — nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Yet here they were, a pretty young Colombian señorita and maybe a hundred or so of her family and friends, happily celebrating her quince (“Sweet…

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Added by David Paul Appell on January 24, 2011 at 11:17am — 1 Comment

In Curaçao, Culture Complements Caribbean Vacations -- Particularly At One Special Resort

by David Paul Appell

The “C” in the ABC islands of the Dutch West Indies does have dandy diving, dining, nightlife, and a few sweet strands. But for me, Curaçao's single strongest suit is its fascinating culture,…

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Added by David Paul Appell on January 13, 2011 at 4:46pm — No Comments

SoBe's Latest Must-Visit Resto: Eden South Beach

Color me still underwhelmed by much of the South Beach dining scene lots of flash, but frankly longer on attitude than substance. Having said that, in recent years things have started to evolve a bit in good ways. Nonetheless, when last weekend I strolled for the first time into Eden South Beach, an eatery opened at the end of October in the space once… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on November 25, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

A Cold Yet Cool Reception This Winter at Sweden & Quebec's Ice Hotels

That time of year again — starting next week, chilly chic is back once more, thanks to those clever Swedes and crafty Quebecois. First up, from December 10 to mid-April, the Swedish Lappland town of Jukkasjärvi, up north of the Arctic Circle, will be the site of the 59,200-square foot (5,500-square-meter) 21st edition of the original ICEHOTEL (you fly into Stockholm, then connect onward to Kiruna;…

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Added by David Paul Appell on November 13, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments

At Brunei's Empire Hotel and Country Club, Cavort Like a Sultan

It’s just a decade old, but as you’d expect, this resort on the South China Sea beachfront in the small Malay sultanate ruled by one of the world’s richest men — originally built as a royal palace by the sultan’s very naughty kid brother to the tune of more than US$1 billion — has been in the front ranks of Asia’s top hostelries ever since. With 420 rooms, suites, and villas on a… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on November 2, 2010 at 1:23pm — No Comments

"Survivor: Nicaragua" Boosts Country, Beach Town San Juan del Sur

Catch the premiere of Survivor Nicaragua? Geezers vs. punks -- advantage: punks. Jimmy Johnson gets winded, whoop-de-do; a goofy water-bucket challenge -- and OMG, poor Wendy! Yep, looks like we're in for another action-packed season of hijinks, namecalling, and bungles in the jungle -- this time shot around the beach town of San Juan del Sur, on Nicaragua's Pacific Coast. We didn't really see the actual town in the first episode (the tribal council setting is…

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Added by David Paul Appell on September 16, 2010 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

Bye, Bye, Brazil: A Vignette From the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Jake stood helplessly, listlessly on line, trying to keep a sweaty grip on his smudged wine glass and trying to figure out which circle of hell Dante might consign the towering inferno that was the tastings tent of this year's SoBe Wine and Food Festival. His feet were starting to ache, his stomach was starting to sour and his ears were starting to ring. Damn Angie for saddling him with writing up… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on September 5, 2010 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Clinton Wedding Site Rhinebeck Just One Jewel of Hudson Valley

Rhinebeck, the 324-year-old New York State town where Chelsea Clinton staged the overhyped "wedding of the millennium" July 31, is certainly a gentrified charmer these days, with its bistros and Victorian architecture. But apart from being the area where I grew up (in pleasant and not-quite-so-twee Red Hook, part of Rhinebeck till 1812), the rest of the gently rolling Hudson Valley in which it's centrally located is also a trove unto itself,… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on July 31, 2010 at 6:30pm — No Comments

So Just How Epic Is NCL's Newest Cruise Ship?

by David Paul Appell

Norwegian Epic cruise ship in Miami port

For weeks if not months now, I’ve been driving past huge signs blaring, “MIAMI-DADE WELCOMES NORWEGIAN EPIC” — and let’s not even talk about the barrage of radio and print ads of what was sounding like The Innovative Cruise Ship Phenomenon of the…

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Added by David Paul Appell on July 12, 2010 at 11:30am — No Comments

In Orlando, Wizarding World of Harry Potter Mobbed by Muggles

I’m what you might call a pretty casual Harry Potter fan. I read the first book and saw most (not sure if all) of the seven movies with varying degrees of pleasure. But visiting “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” the long-awaited theme-park-within-a-theme-park at Universal’s Islands of Adventure after its official opening this past Friday in Orlando, Florida, I found myself awash in a sweaty sea of Potterphiles — many presumably so devoted to J.K. Rowling’s creation that they’ve… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on June 24, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Ritz-Carlton's New Cabanas Push Fort Lauderdale Luxe To A New Level (Literally)

A couple of nights ago I got to join a group for a little soirée like quite a few I've attended in some of the glammer circles of South Beach. The venue was a line of ten sleek white cabanas facing the ocean, stocked with bubbly, shrimp and crab legs, decadent desserts, and lots of Ketel One. A DJ spun global lounge sounds, and between sips, noshes, and gazes out at the busy beach and the ships in the distance we all happily dished about the latest doings in South Florida and… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on June 12, 2010 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Snowpocalypse Never: In Quebec, Winter's Just an Excuse to Kick It Up a Notch

Folks in large swaths of the USA’s Northeast have been shellshocked by the so-called “snowpocalypse” (or is it snowmageddon?) these past several days, but meanwhile, up here in southern Quebec, I’ve been witnessing firsthand how little the locals let a little weather slow them down. In fact, they take it up a notch. Even with average annual snowfalls of 14 feet (4 meters) and subfreezing temperatures, for the past 55 years Quebeckers have thrown their own pre-Lenten… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on February 10, 2010 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

Could Tourism Help Save Haiti?

The brouhaha that’s erupted in the past several days about the “questionable taste” of Royal Caribbean bringing its passengers to a leased beach at Labadee (aka Labadie), onHaiti‘s north coast, is a good example of the inevitable awkwardness in…

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Added by David Paul Appell on January 23, 2010 at 11:30am — No Comments

London Calling, With Turkey Day in a Glass

I rediscovered just last week how lousy with Yanks is Britain's capital; at a Chinese joint in Earl's Court (a nabe of particularly high infestation) called Dragon's Palace, I felt like getting up and shouting, "OK, is anyone here not from the States?"



No matter -- especially post-Bush, the Brits seem to fancy us over there more than ever, and a few establishments like St. James' venerable Stafford Hotel, just a hop and a skip from… Continue

Added by David Paul Appell on November 16, 2009 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Honduras Offers High-Quality, Affordable Travel Thrills

It’s not often that the tiny Central American country of Honduras steals its way onto the outside world’s front pages. But most of the turmoil surrounding the June 28 ouster of overreaching president Manuel Zelaya seems to be roiling more outside the country than inside, in places like Caracas, Managua, and even Washington DC. Most Hondurans, by contrast, seem relieved by recent events, and it’s been largely business as usual within the country, including its growing tourism…

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Added by David Paul Appell on July 2, 2009 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

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