Elite Escapes

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Part One elite

by Jacqueline Miller

Enjoyment. Relaxation. Contentment. States of being that should be easily attained, but let’s face it, without getting philosophical, they are much more attainable for the affluent. elite

If you are one of the fortunate ones to be able to hop on a jet and satisfy a whim, then you may want to consider our picks to destinations within our great shores that will assuage a variety of impulses and indulge you in extravagant ways.
In next month’s issue, be on the lookout for part two of Elite Escapes.


It made Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List 2017 (hotels from around the world its editors would return to time and again). It was voted one of the most “delicious places to stay” by Bon Appetit. Travel + Leisure named it one of the Top 15 City Hotels in the United States. And if you love low country cooking and can’t cook a lick, even you will leave like a pro after a stay at Zero George in Charleston. (zerogeorge.com)

There aren’t too many places where you can walk right into the kitchen and learn from one of the hottest chefs – Vinson Petrillo – and a rotating cast of guest chefs. The intimate hotel is a restored 1804 carriage house with original heart pine floors, an intimate dining room, piazza and closed brick patio.

The professional display kitchen features a French enamel cooking range and working food preparation island. You can join hands-on cooking classes where you create a range of traditional and contemporary dishes using different recipes, techniques and styles. elite

The renowned Zero George Cooking Series, a FOOD + WINE Magazine best new cooking class, features celebrity chefs and culinary ambassadors. Guests watch the instructor prepare the food and enjoy tasting the dishes presented as a multi-course meal with wine pairings. Take notes as you watch the chef work; ask questions throughout the process; walk away able to recreate the menu at home. The most expensive culinary experience is the six-course tasting menu with elevated wine pairings for $185 a person.

Are private lessons more to your liking? For the ultimate culinary experience, you and your guest can learn tips from the master as you cook side-by-side with Chef Petrillo and earn your own Hedley & Bennett chef’s apron. Then relax and enjoy the three-course meal that you had a hand in preparing.

The most expensive accommodation is the Garden Suite, which ranges between $500 and $900 per night depending on season and day of the week. The Anson Suite is located in the original residence house on the top floor and features a hand-laid marble and tile shower, a handcrafted armoire, and classic architectural elements including heart pine floors, high ceilings and period millwork. elite

You don’t have to go to France or Italy for a top-notch culinary experience. With Zero George being only a few hours by plane, or under eight hours by car, you can be there in plenty of time for a fabulous low country dinner.


It’s the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Ranch, and the only US charter member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana, a Relais & Chateaux property, personifies the frontiers of luxury travel. (theranchatrockcreek.com)

With its extensive amenities, inventive cuisine, and access to over 20 guided outdoor activities on 6,600 acres of mountains, meadows, forests, trout ponds and a mountain-fed creek, “glamping” at The Ranch is a dream vacation for those who love the outdoors and can handle its average nightly rate from $2000 (standard room) to $11,200 (a home that sleeps eight). elite

Originally homesteaded in the early 1990s, The Ranch operates year-round. Rock Creek runs through the property and is one of the world’s few Blue Ribbon-designated fisheries. Seasonal celebrations include a barn dance, stagecoach tours, sleigh rides and rodeos.

Accommodations include the ultimate camping adventure in classic canvas comforts, luxury rooms of historic splendor in the Historic Barn or the Granite Lodge, to luxury log homes.

The Rod & Gun Club is the activities hub, which you can access by foot, your own personal Ranch cruiser, or a mountain bike. The Activities Concierge arranges your outdoor preference (depending on time of year): hiking, biking, fly fishing, horseback riding, roping lessons, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, sledding, ice skating, hockey, snowshoeing, archery, trap and skeet, pistol and rifle ranges, sporting clays, and ropes course including zip lines. There’s even a Little Grizzlies Club to keep the kids entertained. elite

Off-ranch activities (at an additional price) include fishing helicopter tours of Yellowstone, Glacier National Parks backcountry hiking, kayaking, raft trips and hot air balloon rides. Leisure activities include an outdoor swimming pool, four lane bowling alley, billiards, shuffleboard, darts, movie theater, karaoke, and a fitness center. And when you’ve had enough activities and your muscles are a bit sore, there’s the Granite Spa for peace and relaxation.

The kitchen at The Ranch tells the story of Montana stock, wildlife, herb and harvest. The ranch-to-table cuisine contains regionally and locally sources organic ingredients and are prepared using a wood fire grill, a Dutch oven or appliances from a state-of-the art kitchen.

If you’re looking for nonstop, good American fun alongside others who can afford the hefty all-inclusive price, this five-star ranch under the starry Montana sky is the one. elite

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