Stories for: International

Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, International, TravelThe Ritz-Carlton Cancun

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. READ MORE

Hotels, International, Obsessions, TravelMaroma Resort & Spa

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. READ MORE

Fashion, International, Los Angeles, Shopping, TravelSwimming in Seafolly

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! READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Food, International, TravelBerlin in Winter

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! READ MORE

Accessories, Fashion, Hotels, International, Jewelry, Lust List, Shoes, TravelLust List: November 2009

Fragrance, International, Sponsored, TravelSponsored: Sensory Journey through Western Europe

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. READ MORE

Hotels, International, TravelForever and Always Aman

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. READ MORE

Hotels, International, TravelCelebrating Friendships in the Dominican Republic

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. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, International, TravelFour Nights in Ocho Rios

When I told people that I was staying in Ocho Rios for a few nights during my trip to Jamaica, most were already somewhat familiar with the city. It is a popular stop for many Caribbean cruises, so a lot of people tend to roam the town for a day and then leave at night. That’s too bad for them, because there is so much more to Ocho Rios than being a cruise stop. Ochi, as it’s called, has a distinctive culture and character all its own and is just 2 to 2.5 hours away from the airport in Montego Bay. I spent an amazing 4 nights there and now I’ve got the low down on everything you should do during your own visit.

If you want a unique, exclusive experience, then there’s only 1 place to stay: the Jamaica Inn. We wanted to avoid large, generic all-inclusives, so the Jamaica Inn was perfect. It is a hotel that is steeped in history, with past guests like the glamorous icon Marilyn Monroe, and even British dignitaries (including Winston Churchill). It’s absolutely amazing that they saw the same, virtually unchanged, beautiful view that you see above of a lush lawn and gorgeous sandy beach. There are employees here that have worked at the Jamaica Inn for over 40 years, and guests know them by name. It’s truly a classic, romantic destination. READ MORE

Food, International, Shopping, Travel36 Hours in Athens

After a 30 minute flight from Naxos, we checked into the Herodion Hotel, which I chose because of its ideal location, comfortable accommodations, and beautiful roof deck. The fifth floor of the hotel offers a spectacular view of the Parthenon, along with sweeping views of the city itself. There were many chairs and ample shade, so one could go and enjoy the scenery at any time of day in comfort.

While we were only in Athens for a day and a half, I think we saw more sites and covered more ground then most people could do in at least double our time. I literally mapped our most logical route through the city, marking museums, sites, boutiques, and restaurants which could not be missed.

Even though we arrived to our hotel in the late afternoon, we were determined to visit the Acropolis before sunset. Late afternoon happens to be an idea time to visit the Acropolis, as the heat isn’t as extreme and the  light is some of the best for photography. Embarrassingly, we rode the Happy Train and briefly toured the Plaka before disembarking at the Acropolis stop. While the Acropolis itself is a collection of structures dating back to the 432BC, the monument is best known for the Parthenon, built by Pericles in the fifth century BC. The Acropolis was one of the most beautiful sites I had ever seen, and it was surreal knowing that I was standing in history dating back thousands of years. Unfortunately, age and pollution have taken a tole on the Acropolis, and many parts of the sites have been replaces with replica casts. However, one can view many of the original pieces at the new Acropolis Museum, which we JUST missed the opening of! Disappointing to say the least, but I guess we’ll just have to go back! READ MORE

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