“This is Shangri-la,” said the concierge, nodding towards the thousands of sparkling chandelier crystals that illuminated silk tapestries and gilded artwork that decorated the hotel’s sky lobby. Located in the top floors of a corporate park and perched above Tokyo Station, the Shangri-la Tokyo, certainly was every bit the oasis worthy of it’s namesake, a gem among the city’s skyscrapers. Last month I ventured to Japan for the first time, and took the opportunity to check in- and check out- the newest luxury hotel in Tokyo. (more…)
I think I speak for all of us at TDO when saying that I’m just a bit envious of Andria Mitsakos, wanderlista, designer and PR guru. Always a lover of travel, Andria first came onto the scene in 2003 as the president of AMPR, a hospitality communications firm representing an international roster of exclusive travel and lifestyle brands. Many of her clients have made it into TDO in our lust lists and travel obsessions. In 2010, Andria channeled her worldly and well cultivated style into another one of her passions- design. She launched a collection of exotic skin handbags while living in Italy. Her line, Dea Rosa, is a tribute to her late grandmother and focuses on clean lines, a streamlined color palette, and affordable, luxurious styles. Having spent time and many many email conversations with Andria, I can attest to the fact that her warmth attracts new confidants, while her little black book connects her to old friends in the media, travel and fashion industries- making her the ultimate insider! Below she shares with us what makes her life so fabulous!
Located at Kilometer 14.5 on Cancun’s posh “hotel zone,” the Ritz Carlton Cancun easily occupies the best real estate on the famed strip. It is located within a stone’s throw from all the luxury shopping the city offers, is far from the traditional “party zone,” and boasts the best beach of all the hotels in Cancun. Combine that with a resort that is both family and couples friendly, large ocean view rooms, and award winning service- it’s easy to see why the Ritz-Carlton Cancun was top of my list when I booked my Mexican vacation last month. (more…)
Even the road to Maroma is a sight to see- bright tropical blossoms and birds scattered among the lush mangroves that line a unpaved path to the resort. Make sure to pay attention on the drive in- as there are multiple forks in the road- but only one will lead you to the the seaside paradise. Set upon a spectacular private beach, Maroma is nothing like many of the other resorts in the Riviera Maya. Though owned and operated by luxury hotel group Orient-Express, in many ways Maroma still feels like the private property that architect Jose Luiz and his wife Sally called their home for years. It’s a place where I left my room door open as I milled around and where I could be happy just spending hours on my private porch. Every morning I walked the forty steps or so to the pristine beach, coffee in hand, to watch the sun rise accompanied only by my thoughts and the soothing crash of the Caribbean waves. This was the magic of Maroma- a place that lets you unwind, relax, and feel as if the entire property was there just for you alone. As an Orient-Express hotel, Maroma offers best in class service- what they call “homemade hospitality.” Each guest is taken care of on an individual and tailored basis- where every need is met in a very behind-the-scenes way. You’ll never see the effort that goes into making each moment perfect- just that when you wake up- a steaming hot pot of coffee is already waiting on your porch table, that the beach is free of debris any time you want to lay out, and when you come back from an evening excursion, hundreds of candles will guide you back to your room.
Before I visited Maroma, I had read so many reviews from travelers telling me how special the property is- but I realized that it’s a place where words and even pictures can’t do it justice (though I will try). It’s just one of those sanctuaries you’ll have to visit. (more…)
Believe it or not, it’s finally starting to feel like summer in Southern California (OK, yes, the weather is practically perfect year-round but only now have we been hitting the 90s on a regular basis!). For a swimsuit pack rat, this means heaven — and time to stop parading around the kitchen in my new orange-striped Seafolly Capri separates. Finally, I get to take them outside!
Seafolly, a popular Australian swimwear brand, has been around since the mid-70s selling “sexy yet practical” suits. You can instantly spot the subtle retro influences of the brand in its latest line of ultra-feminine, chic suits and beachwear, from strategically placed ruffles and cutouts to polka dots and sailor stripes. Upon first checking out this season’s styles, I — like many bloggers and editors — immediately fell in love with the one-piece Goddess Boyleg Maillot (about $150). It’s supposed to be great for hourglass figures but I was worried that the boy-leg cut would shorten my already short legs, so next on my list were the shirred Capri separates ($77 for the top and $64 for the bottom, as seen on Victoria’s Secret model Jessica Hart, left). I love how the convertible bandeau bra-top makes my non-existent bust look, well … busty! (more…)
One week ago from today, I was navigating the snow filled streets in the wintry wonderland that is Berlin in January. Not a usual winter tourist destination (and for good reason), Berlin in January is prone to gray days, mounds of unshoveled snow and a bitter wind that makes even the toughest nose run. With conditions like that, warmth takes precedence over style. Luckily, the city of Berlin has its own style to distract from your lack!
I traveled to Berlin on a NYU sponsored trip to study the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. With this theme in mind I visited the legendary Checkpoint Charlie, A Stasi prison facility, the East Berlin Wall Gallery, Berlin’s Underground bunker system, and Livadia Palace in Potsdam where the Yalta Convention was held. Obviously, the history buff would not be hurting for hot spots to visit in Berlin, and I highly recommend all of the above mentioned sights. However, for those less interested in the Cold War here are my recommendations. With a city as fascinating culturally, historically, and artistically, you really can’t go wrong! (more…)
The summer after my senior year of college, like many other young Americans, I spent the season in Europe. Having long been enamored with Audrey Hepburn films, I was eager to recreate a little Roman Holiday for myself. So I packed up a backpack, picked up a map and planned to spend my last days of freedom wandering Western Europe.
Since that summer and since I began my life as a professional woman, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many places across Asia, South America, the Caribbean and even back to Western and Central Europe. While I have enjoyed each and every one of my trips, stayed at more luxurious properties and dined at finer restaurants, nothing has yet been able to replace the exhilaration and pure joy for life that I felt that summer, sleeping on overnight trains and getting lost in coastal towns. It was on that trip, that I fell in love with traveling. (more…)
Since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed staying in hotels. Something about the fresh, crisp turned down corners of the bed, the decadence of ordering room service, and being able to order anything with a simple phone call at the drop of a hat thrilled me. With my fond memories of traveling as a family with my parents all across the US, I’ve loved reading about different hotels in far away locales (specifically when I am frustrated at work and I need to some travel daydreaming.) My favorite discovery that I’ve been using as my source of solace during periods of high stress? Aman Resorts, a luxury, intimate small chain of hotels focused primarily on the southeast Asia region. (more…)
I’m pretty certain there’s no better way to unwind, relax, and celebrate a decade-old friendship than with a beach vacation. While we’d ALL love to be able to splurge on top-notch accommodations, food, and service, sometimes it’s just not possible (grad school? Boston rent?! Eeek!) However, ever since we were in sixth grade, my best friend Karen and I have always talked about going away to tropical destination together. Well, a few weeks ago, we finally made our fantasy a reality with a week-long, all-inclusive stay at the Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!
I’m a girl who speaks the truth, so I’m going to be honest; this was not my ideal vacation. Typically when I visit foreign countries, I like to immerse myself in the local culture as much as possible. Obviously, staying at an all-inclusive isn’t really conducive to my desire of hanging out at corner bodegas, learning salsa and the meringue late-night in local discos, and chowing on authentic, well-made Dominican food. But for $1000 each including airfare, this was a great budget friendly, worry-free beach vacation. (more…)