Jennifer Kester

Forbes Travel Guide Editor

  • Chicago, Illinois, USA

As the Executive Editor at Forbes Travel Guide, my finger is firmly on the pulse of the latest in luxury travel. My own journeys have brought me everywhere from Shanghai to Tasmania to the Baltics, and I’m always on the lookout for the next great city to visit. I’ve parlayed my globe-trotting into my work, serving as an editor and writer at such publications as HotelChatter, Jaunted, AOL and Time Out Chicago. When I’m not scoping out a new travel destination, you’ll find me trying hot new restaurants, seeing the latest play or just having a laugh at a comedy show.

  • On February 3, 2014
    Jennifer Kester is now following Napa
  • On February 3, 2014
  • On February 3, 2014
    Jennifer Kester is now following Hotel Corque
  • On January 22, 2014
    Jennifer Kester is now following Graff Diamonds
  • On January 22, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    What is the scene like at Tenmasa?

    The scene at Tenmasa is peaceful and serene. The main room and select private rooms offer unobstructed views of Macau Peninsula through floor-to-ceiling windows. Food is prepared tableside, creating an intimate experience as you interact, course by course, with your chef. A typical meal at Tenmasa lasts between two and three hours so you can relax and get comfortable. The emphasis is on great food in a refined and authentic atmosphere. You can also take a seat at the sake bar or check out the restaurant’s dedicated sake cellar.
  • On January 22, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    What is the dress code at Tenmasa?

    The dress code at Tenmasa is smart casual. While there is no strict policy about wardrobe, the restaurant inside the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Altira Macau offers a sophisticated — and traditional — setting. The restaurant features some tatami (mat) seating and diners should be prepared to leave their shoes in the sleek wood shoe locker before entering. (Rest assured that the cubbies are securely locked.) Ladies might want to wear pants or a long skirt to be most comfortable.
  • On January 22, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    Where is Tenmasa located?

    Tenmasa is located inside Altira Macau, which is on Taipa Island at the intersection of Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen and Avenida de Kwong Tung. Tucked away on the eleventh floor of the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, Tenmasa is easily accessible from a dedicated street entrance or from an elevator within the hotel. The restaurant’s stone and bamboo décor with tatami seating transports you to a serene and peaceful place, yet it’s just ten minutes from most major attractions and transportation hubs.
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    How do I get a reservation at Grill 225?

    The easiest way to get a reservation at Grill 225 in Market Pavilion Hotel is to call the restaurant at 843-266-4222. You also can book a table online on the hotel’s website. Of course, if you are a guest at the hotel, the concierge can easily arrange for you to get reservation.

    The Charleston restaurant serves lunch, dinner and brunch. If you want a table for dinner, it’s recommended to make a reservation, especially on weekends. The dining room is busiest in the evenings, when businessmen, tourists and families fill the tables to nosh on Grill 225’s wet-aged USDA Prime steaks, like the indulgent filet mignon with foie gras, truffled béarnaise and fig demi-glace.
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    What is the dress code at Grill 225?

    The dress code at Grill 225 in Market Pavilion Hotel is business casual. In general, Charleston is a pretty laid-back city when it comes to dressing up, so you won’t have to bring your suit or cocktail dress. Jeans are permissible, as long as men pair them with a nice button-down shirt and perhaps a sports coat, and ladies don a dressier blouse and heels. Women also can opt for dresses or skirts. Stick to these guidelines and you’ll fit right into the old-school vibe of the dining space, with its wood-paneled walls, tables covered with white cloth and white coffered ceiling.

    Grill 225 offers a casual atmosphere, and there aren’t the hushed tones typical in fine-dining restaurants. Instead, you’ll hear boisterous laughing and conversation throughout the dining room, and maybe some chatter from little ones, since it’s also a kid-friendly restaurant.
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    Where is Grill 225 located?

    Grill 225 is located on the first floor of Market Pavilion Hotel in Charleston. The restaurant has a fantastic downtown spot at East Bay and Market streets. Directly across the street is the grand U.S. Customs House with its white Corinthian columns, and next to it is the historic City Market. The popular market fills with swarms of tourists perusing the more than 100 booths selling everything from silver jewelry to hand-woven sweetgrass baskets.

    If you’re at the Charleston steakhouse on a date, after dinner take a five-minute walk to romantic Waterfront Park, where you can see the lit-up fountains and then sit in the large swinging bench and peer out into the harbor. For a lively end to the night, make your way to the hotel’s fifth-floor Pavilion Bar. In the evening, locals and hotel guests get lured out on the rooftop bar’s dance floor by the DJ, while others enjoy the music from high-top metal tables over strawberry-kiwi mojitos.
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    What’s the best time to visit Market Pavilion Hotel?

    The best time to visit Market Pavilion Hotel is in the spring and summer, when you can take advantage of its hot rooftop bar and pool (it’s the only rooftop pool in Charleston). White columns and chaise lounges front the in-ground pool. Round metal decorative high-top tables and chairs huddle underneath large white umbrellas on top of checkerboard flooring. Sit at one of the tables to get a view of the harbor, the top of the classic U.S. Customs House across the street and more. At night, the fifth-floor rooftop transforms to more of a see-and-be-seen spot, with a DJ spinning on weekends and fashionable denizens sipping strawberry-kiwi mojitos (strawberry and kiwi puree, Cruzan Aged Light Rum, mint-infused simple syrup and lime juice).

    The rooftop is open year-round, but it’s one of the top places to spend the Fourth of July. The vantage point from the Charleston hotel bar lets you see several different sets of fireworks. During the festivities, the rooftop crowds with 300 people trying to get a glimpse of the action, but the best seats are saved for hotel guests and VIPs.

    The other seasons have their pluses as well. To visit Charleston outside of its busiest seasons, plan a winter trip. You won’t have to elbow your way through the next-door Central Market or fight for space along the waterfront. However, you may want to time your visit with one of the city’s popular events, such as the Charleston Wine + Food Festival (March), one of the South’s best culinary gatherings, or the Spoleto Festival USA (May and June), which showcases theater, dance, visual arts and more.
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    What restaurants does Market Pavilion Hotel have?

    The main restaurant in Market Pavilion Hotel is Grill 225, which serves lunch and dinner. The lobby restaurant gives off an old-school steakhouse vibe with its white coffered ceiling, wood-paneled walls, white-cloth-covered tables and songs such as “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “My Kind of Town” playing in the background. It sets the proper scene for executive chef Demetre Castanas’ meaty menu. Great care is taken with the beef here: Grill 225 claims to be the sole Charleston steakhouse that serves only USDA Prime beef, Castanas butchers it himself and the meat is aged a minimum of 42 days.

    Start out with appetizers like the buttery shrimp brûlée with bread crumbs and Parmesan or the escargot with garlic butter and kasseri cheese. Then order the juicy rib-eye with side such as the creamed corn, one of the most popular of the bunch, and fire-roasted Brussels sprouts. Grill 225 also offers a menu of Maine lobster prepared in almost any way you could want — steamed, thermidor, brandied, scampi, piccata. The dessert menu is filled with comforting classics, such as banana bread pudding with sugar-fired bananas, caramel ice cream and caramel sauce, and the chocolate mousse cake with macadamia nut fudge, strawberries and ganache.

    If you’re dining solo, opt for a seat at the Charleston restaurant’s bar, which is across the lobby. The wood-topped bar is also a great place to have drinks. There are more than 430 bottles of wine on offer, but try one of the 30 Nitrotinis, the restaurant’s own unique concoctions. Liquid nitrogen chills the cocktail to -320 degrees, and when the condensed water vapor hits the warm air, it causes a cloud of smoke to waft from your martini glass. The Nitrotinis come in flavors such as the Sweet Tea (local Firefly Sweet Tea vodka with lemonade and a lemon wheel garnish).

    Another lunch and dinner option at the luxury hotel is its rooftop hot spot, Pavilion Bar. Sit under one of the big white umbrellas in the metal high-top tables near the pool to order casual eats, such as pizza. While the thin-crust pies — such as the one topped with lobster thermidor, portobello, truffle oil, mozzarella and Parmesan — are good poolside fare, don’t miss the spicy tuna tower. The tall appetizer is a meal in itself with thick layers of tuna tartare, crabmeat, avocado and rice with lemon-chile oil.
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester answered the question: Jennifer Kester

    What are the best things about Market Pavilion Hotel?

    There are many reasons to check into Market Pavilion Hotel, from its traditional colonial-inspired rooms to its fantastic food. But here are our picks for the best things about the Charleston hotel:

    1. Its central location. At East Bay and South Market streets, the hotel is next to City Market. One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the market is open daily with more than 100 vendors selling woven sweetgrass baskets, silver jewelry, sweet benne wafers and more. Market Pavilion is also a five-minute walk to Waterfront Park and a 10-minute stroll to shops such as Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton on King Street.

    2. Its hot rooftop. During the day, swim in the outdoor pool or sit under the white umbrellas to have lunch and a view of the harbor. At night, the space transforms to a hot spot where locals come to dance to the beats of a DJ and to mingle over blueberry mojitos (blueberry puree, Cruzan rum, mint-infused simple syrup and lime juice). On weekends, it’s not unusual to see a line outside of the boutique hotel wrapped around the sidewalk with people waiting to get into the fifth-floor Pavilion Bar.

    3. The concierge-level rooms. Rooms on the fourth floor gain access a charming parlor with toile wallpaper, a white tray ceiling, dark wood furniture and maroon padded chairs and cushy sofas. The parlor provides complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening hors d'oeuvres and more. One afternoon, we spotted a silver oval tray filled with crustless cucumber finger sandwiches and another holding cups of custard with blackberries and other fruit surrounded by chocolate chip and white chocolate chip cookies. Bonus: Club-level guests have their own private concierge.

    4. Grill 225. The luxury hotel’s steakhouse lays claim to being the only Charleston restaurant to serve all USDA Prime beef. Go to the rich wood-paneled dining room with wood floors and a white coffered ceiling to enjoy a rib-eye (aged for 42 days) or the thick New York strip (aged for 50 days) with sides such as the creamed corn with jalapeño and cheddar or mashed sweet potatoes with Boursin cheese.

    5. The bathrooms. Even in the most basic accommodations, the elegant white marble bathrooms come with a separate shower and tub. And all have luxe Hermès toiletries that you’ll surely want to bring home.
  • On January 20, 2014
  • On January 20, 2014
    Jennifer Kester is now following ESPA at Vdara