Alex Skjong

Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Alex Skjong is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent based in Atlanta. The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, nurtured his journalistic foundation and the Internet did the rest, as his interest in new media forms such as podcasts and videocasts has grown over the years. He’s contributed print and online content to luxury and lifestyle publications including Michigan Avenue Magazine and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, and social media content to the guitar website FRET12.com. When Skjong isn’t writing or tweeting, he’s recording music and tightly crossing his fingers for affordable commercial space travel.

  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    How do I get a reservation at Chaz on the Plaza?

    Located inside The Raphael Hotel in Kansas City’s buzzy Country Club Plaza district, Chaz on the Plaza can usually accommodate walk-ins without notice for breakfast, lunch and (often times) for dinner. But to guarantee a table for a specific day and time, call the Forbes Travel Guide recommended restaurant ahead of time or visit its website to make a reservation (you can book at table at the top right of the web page). If you find yourself at Chaz on the Plaza without a reservation and a long wait ahead of you, head to the lounge area for cocktail or two and take in a live performance by a local musician.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What is the menu like at Chaz on the Plaza?

    The modern American regional cuisine served at Chaz on the Plaza ranges from stellar breakfast staples to signature meat-heavy dishes for dinner. Executive chef Charles d’Ablaing likes to focus on local ingredients, sourced from excellent purveyors in America’s heartland. Breakfast options include dishes such as lobster eggs Benedict and banana foster French toast, as well as omelets, pastries and pancakes. For lunch, you can choose from a variety of sandwiches, salads and main course options such as shallot braised chicken breast or rock shrimp campanelle.
     
    Dinner at Chaz on the Plaza showcases d’Ablaing’s excellent technique — order well-executed dishes like the signature domestic lamb rack, Chilean sea bass and Berkshire pork chop. Desserts are sophisticated — you won’t find anything too traditional here — and range from items like chocolate peanut butter torte (served with banana marshmallow cream and peanut caramel) to tres leches cake and brûléed pears.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What is the dress code at Chaz on the Plaza?

    The dress code at Chaz on the Plaza depends on the occasion and the time of day at this Forbes Travel Guide recommended restaurant. Located inside The Raphael Hotel, the eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you can expect to see patrons dressed in a range of attire throughout the day. Chaz on the Plaza describes its dress code simply: no swim suits. Thus, a casual environment is to be expected.
     
    However, if you’re dining here at for dinner, business casual dress is recommended. You’re bound to see a full spectrum of attire, from romantic couples dressed to impress to more casual after-work groups hitting the lounge area for happy hour.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What are the operating hours of Chaz on the Plaza?

    Chaz on the Plaza is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, ideal for the shoppers and sightseers who work up appetites throughout the day meandering through the Country Club Plaza neighborhood. Located within The Raphael Hotel, the Forbes Travel Guide recommended restaurant serves breakfast from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Lunch runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 2 p.m. on Sunday.
     
    Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 5 to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
  • On September 19, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Where is Chaz on the Plaza located?

    Within The Raphael Hotel, Chaz on the Plaza sits in historic Country Club Plaza district a few minutes from downtown Kansas City, Mo. The neighborhood is well-known for its excellent shopping, nightlife and entertainment options. The plaza itself is enchanting — the area’s fountains, charming stucco exteriors and tiled rooftops provide a lovely backdrop for a romantic stroll after dinner, drinks or even a long lunch. Sports fans will appreciate the Forbes Travel Guide recommended restaurant’s proximity to the stadiums of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals — they can grab an excellent meal before or after a game.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    How do I get a reservation at Miró Restaurant?

    Miró restaurant, located within Bacara Resort & Spa in sunny Santa Barbara, is only open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, so reservations should be made in advance by calling the restaurant or hotel directly. You’ll especially want to book a reservation at this Four-Star restaurant if you’re a wine enthusiast as it features 12,000 bottles in its wine cellar. The Spanish restaurant also features a private dining room within its wine cellar, with seating up to 40 people. To book this, again, call the restaurant directly and someone there can assist you with booking this unique room.
  • On September 14, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What bars does The Essex Resort & Spa have?

    When you want a drink, head to The Essex Resort & Spa’s bar, The Tavern. There choose from among Vermont microbrews like Switchback, a pale/brown ale with a nutty finish, or Trout River Rainbow Red, a red ale with fruit esters. The Tavern also has its own private label — Plate Chucker is a classic brown ale. Bottled beers like Chimay Red, Guinness and Harpoon UFO Pumpkin Ale are available as well.
     
    If you prefer a cocktail, order a fun Big Kid Rootbeer Float, made with Rookie's root beer, Stoli Vanil and Baileys, or the Vermont Maple Martini, mixed with Green Mountain vodka, maple sapling liqueur and soda.
     
    The Tavern has a nice wine list, too, with selections by the glass and the bottle. White wine fans should try the 2010 Ned sauvignon blanc, which has traces of lime and fresh grass, while red aficionados will enjoy the 2011 Belle Glos Meiomi pinot noir with notes of cola, blackberries and sweet cedar.
  • On September 14, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What restaurants does Essex Resort & Spa have?

    The Essex Resort & Spa is known as a culinary destination and offers two main restaurants for your dining pleasure. The resort’s signature restaurant, Amuse, offers sophisticated dining in a surprisingly casual setting. Each day, the restaurant updates its menu with new courses based on the freshest local ingredients — many harvested from the resort’s own organic garden. Choose from the seasonal menu during breakfast, dinner or Sunday brunch. Breakfast and brunch feature classics such as buttermilk pancakes or Belgian waffles, any variety of eggs you could desire and a morning buffet with omelet and French toast stations. The dinner menu lists dishes such as lobster risotto, jalapeño-Brie fondue and Misty Knoll chicken roulade. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a seat at the chef’s table to interact with the chef and have at least five unique courses prepared right before your eyes.
     
    The hotel's other restaurant, The Tavern, is a place to sit back and enjoy traditional pub fare. Recently renovated, this relaxed spot has an expanded bar area and seasonal patio seating alongside the resort’s vegetable and herb gardens. Serving lunch, light afternoon fare and dinner Monday through Saturday, The Tavern offers feel-good choices like the Essex Garden Burger (housemade veggie burger, Cabot cheddar, cilantro sauce, whole wheat bun, petit salad, ginger pickle) or The Tavern Club (Misty Knoll turkey, Vermont Smoke and Cure ham and bacon, Cabot cheddar, sourdough, herb mayo, lettuce, tomato, housemade chips). But you'll likely want to go straight for the standout "Steakhouse" portion of the menu to try the various dry-aged, grass-fed local beef. The house-aged ribeye is a favorite. 
     
    Also, if you’re primed for a long day out, the hotel's nearby bakery and café carries a range of breakfast sandwiches, to-go lunches and many different housemade sweets — even wedding cakes for the spontaneous romantics out there.
     
    Last but not least for foodies (or wannabe foodies), you can learn to prepare your own delicious meal by signing up for a class or two in The Essex Resort & Spa’s Cook Academy. You’ll observe top techniques while cooking a three- or four-course meal (paired with wine, of course). It’s yet another fun, creative dining experience at this luxury Vermont resort.
  • On September 14, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    When is the best time to visit Essex Resort & Spa?

    To see The Essex Resort & Spa at its peak, the best time to visit is autumn. From the end of September through October, admire the colorful fall foliage around the hotel's 18 acres against the backdrop of Lake Champlain and the mountains. It's one of the busiest and most beautiful times of the year at the hotel. However, winter and summer are both strong contenders as well. Winter visitors have some of the best mountains just an hour east of the resort; 500 acres of cross-country powder to ski; and ice fishing at the lake. If you seek a warmer month’s stay, trade skiing for hiking the trail around the resort in hopes of spotting a peregrine falcon nesting on a cliff. You can also bike, swim, kayak, just relax by Lake Champlain or hit the course at The Links at Lang Farm, which was voted Favorite New Golf Course by Northeast Golf Magazine.
  • On September 14, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What is the average price of a room at Essex Resort & Spa?

    Room rates at The Essex Resort & Spa do not fluctuate dramatically based on season; there is no significant price increase for peak holiday or mid-summer bookings. Traditional guest rooms range from $283 per night in early fall to $350 mid-summer. Upgrade to a fireplace mini-suite (complete with a fireplace and, in some rooms, whirlpool tubs) and you’ll pay from $303 in the fall, dipping slightly in the winter months and then rising to $369 in the mid-summer months. The larger mini-suites and the compact studio rooms land in the same range from around $320 in the fall to $390 in the summer months. Capping off the options are the one- and two-bedroom suites with a separate kitchen, living room area, whirlpool tub and Hearthstone gas stove. These charming suites range from around $375 in the fall to $450 in the summer months. All rooms feature flat-screen TVs, 300-thread-count linens, an iHome audio system and Keurig coffee makers.
  • On September 14, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Where is The Essex Resort & Spa located?

    Located less than 10 miles outside of the lakeside city of Burlington, The Essex Resort & Spa is a Vermont getaway sitting on 18 acres of land — between the Green Mountains to the east and Lake Champlain to the west — but gorgeous scenery is not the only draw of The Essex Resort & Spa. Fun day outings to nearby sites, including The Ben and Jerry’s factory, Vermont Teddy Bear Company and Shelburne Museum, ensure that your to-see list will never be empty.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What kinds of wraps are offered at The Spa at Bacara?

    The staff at The Spa at Bacara want you to leave the facilities not only feeling your best, but looking your best as well. That’s why they offer an extensive list of facials and body treatments like the Bacara Body Melt, in which after a full-body massage, you’ll warm up in a thermal cocoon while receiving an aromatherapy scalp massage. All of the luxury spa services are completed with natural, high-quality products. In the refreshing Bacara Citrus Avocado Body Polish, for example, your skin is polished with mineral salt blended with oils of avocado, orange, lemon and tangerine.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What kinds of massages are offered at The Spa at Bacara?

    The ultimate goal of the Bacara Resort & Spa is that the client leaves feeling relaxed, stress-free and rejuvenated. There is no better way to do that than by experiencing one of the many superb massages offered at the spa. Options include the Detoxifying Seaweed Infusion, Reflexology, Swedish, Swedish Sport, Deep Tissue, Prenatal and Healing Stone therapy. The Stress Relief Massage focuses specifically on the neck and shoulders, while the Arnica Massage Infusion combines Swedish, Shiatsu and Thai massage.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    Does The Spa at Bacara offer couples treatments?

    Every aspect of the Bacara Resort & Spa is romantic—including the spa. The Spa at Bacara is set in an intimate, peaceful atmosphere that is great for couples to enjoy together. Try a relaxing Couples Massage: you’ll lie side by side with your significant other for either 50 minutes or 80 minutes and choose between the Swedish, Swedish Sport, or Deep Tissue Massage administered by a top-notch therapist.
  • On September 6, 2012
    Alex Skjong answered the question: Alex Skjong

    What is the cancellation policy at The Spa at Bacara?

    You wouldn’t want to cancel your reservation at The Spa at Bacara in part because you’ll also be giving up access to their gym and activities. The fitness center is not your typical gym; it boasts a 3,500-square-foot cardiovascular and strength training center, a yoga and Pilates studio (with full Cadillac Reformers) and four tennis courts. Spa guests are welcome to complimentary fitness classes and walks, and you can also get personalized consultation for yoga, Pilates, cardio instruction and nutritional and spa recommendations. But if you have to cancel, give them at least 24 hours notice, or you’ll be charged the full price of the service. Cancel by calling 805-571-4210.