Photo Courtesy of Hotel de GlaceIt is the uniqueness of these four venues that makes each one a noteworthy experience to add to your luxury-lifestyle bucket list. We have included a hotel and a restaurant for extraordinary lodging and dining to cover the basics.
We also found an original way to take in a baseball game, without even being at the stadium, and a museum that contains more works by masters than any other gallery or museum in the world.
1. Accommodations: Hôtel de GlaceWhile others are sunning in the Caribbean, why not make them all 'blue' with envy when you talk about chilling out in Quebec at the Hôtel de Glace? The "hotel of ice" is a 30,000-square-foot complex made entirely from 500 tons of ice and 15,000 tons of packed snow.
This icy-hot inn provides more thrills than chills for guests who adhere to the three-layer dress code. Annually, this hotel hosts a variety of curious and intrigued travelers from eclectic explorers to family vacationers. Overall, there are 36 rooms and suites that are artistically decorated with sculptures and thematically inspired wall art that is etched into four-foot-thick walls of ice.
While winter temperatures in Quebec historically drop below zero, it is good to know that the inside the Hôtel de Glace never falls below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the thought of sleeping on ice with minimal creatures comforts is too frigid to ponder, there also is a warm comfy side to this destination hotel.
Although all the furnishings and the beds are made of ice and snow, there is a wooden bed frame, a mattress, a fleece sheet and a wool blanket for bedding in each room. A sleeping bag that is capable of withstanding a temperature as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit also is provided.
Guided activities outside the hotel include an introduction to wilderness survival, archery lessons and cross-country skiing at night. Dogsled rides and wildlife tours are available at the nearby Duchesnay Resort - which is not made of ice and packed snow. Snowmobiling, ice-fishing expeditions and helicopter tours of Quebec City are among the activities enjoyed by guests. The Hôtel de Glace is open from January to April. Every year the hotel melts and is rebuilt by the following winter.
2. Dining: IthaaSeafood at the Ithaa Restaurant probably just drops in and cooks itself! It may appear that way at the world's first all-glass, beneath the sea restaurant at the luxurious Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Actually, the fused Maldivian-Western cuisine is as delicious as the view is unbelievable from 16 feet below sea level.
This is a place where having the right concierge may come in handy, as both locals and vacationers are enthralled by this architectural odyssey. Ithaa is so popular that management recommends advanced reservations be made to ensure getting a table.
The Maldives Rangali Island resort features 50 of the most luxurious villas found in the Maldives. The award-winning resort, which is spread over two islands and surrounded by a coral reef and lagoon, has seven world-class restaurants, two spas and a cornucopia of water-related activities ranging from snorkeling to yachting.
3. Sports Event: Wrigleyville RooftopsWrigleyville Rooftops just may be the most unique way to attend a baseball game in America. You are at the game but not in the ballpark. Instead you are on one of three rooftops outside the park that looks down on the field. The seats are reserved and the price includes unlimited food and beverages. Each of the three rooftops holds up to 200 guests.
Keep in mind that the pricing of tickets fluctuates as the season progresses. At the beginning of the season, an all-inclusive ticket sells for $75. However, during the pennant drive, the hot months of a baseball season heading toward the playoffs, that same ticket peaks to $200. There are other rooftops around the park on Waveland and Sheffield, but the Wrigleyville Rooftops are the official rooftops of the Chicago Cubs. Play ball!
4. Art and Culture: The Barnes FoundationThe Barnes Foundation is a forum of art, culture, and nature located in the Greater Philadelphia area, in Merion, Pa.
The Gallery of the Barnes Foundation is renowned worldwide for its collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern pieces. The collection includes a significant number of masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (181), Paul Cézanne (69), and Henri Matisse (59). Additionally, there are 46 pieces by Pablo Picasso and seven paintings by Vincent van Gogh along with works by Chaim Soutine, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modiglian, Edgar Degas, Georges Seurat, Edouard Manet, and Claude Monet also are included in the impressive late 19th- and early 20th-century dominated collection.
Upon entering the magical property, you will see an arboretum with more than 3,000 varieties of woody plants. The foundation of the verdant landscape dates back to the planting of trees in 1880s by the previous owners of the land. It was a condition of the sale of the property that Dr. Barnes agreed to keep the grounds ecologically sustainable.