Stories for: International

Hotels, International, TravelA Trip to Shangri-La

The recession’s got you planning a staycation? Sure a trip to St. Barth may have to move down a few notches on your 2009 to-do list but that doesn’t mean you have to kiss travel good bye this year. Consider Asia, where the combination of the exchange rate, a heavy dependence on tourism and the weak economy means you can do five star luxury travel for shockingly cheap.

I just got back from a whirlwind week in China, and TDO editor Kathleen is currently spending time in Taiwan. We figured that if we are to do Asia right, then we can’t miss one of the most iconic Asian hotel and resort brands: The Shangri-La. Simply saying the name evokes decadence, as it is derived from the fictional location set in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon and has since become synonymous with paradise on earth. The Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts certainly deliver on this mythical ideal with some of the most luxurious properties in the world. But what I found to be a true shocker is when I went to look at rates, expecting something astronomical in the $500+/night range and came up with prices for under $150. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, International, Obsessions, TravelThe Beauty of Barbados

Somewhere between listening to the Caribbean waves lap outside my seaside villa, admiring the artwork in some of the island’s grand plantations, and tasting some of the freshest cuisine in the world, I fell in love with Barbados, an island that had previously been neither here nor there on my list of places to travel to. A longtime holiday destination for the British, Barbados, or “Little England” still attracts a majority of European visitors, but it’s slowly making its way onto the shortlists of many American vacationers. I had the pleasure to visit the island as a guest of the Barbados Tourism Authority, and my greatest regret during my four day stay was having to leave early to catch another trip the following day. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, International, TravelParis on my Mind

It’s no secret that us ladies of TDO love doing travel research, whether it’s planning a real upcoming trip or fantasizing about going to great places via our Lust Lists.  I can click around the Internet for hours searching for hotels and restaurants and places I’d love to try.

During the spring, Paris always tops my list.  The one and only time I’ve been there, I was a recently graduated backpacker so I didn’t have the means to stay at the hotels of the rich and famous.  When I return (hopefully with someone rich and/or famous), I’d love to stay at the InterContinental Paris Le-Grand.  It’s elegant, opulent and Parisian in the most mythical sense.  Plus, it’s the home of one of Paris’ most legendary restaurants: Café de la Paix.  Instead of being at the office right now, I could be on that bustling street corner nibbling on a pastry and sipping espresso, while people watching arguably the world’s finest fashion show.  Or I could dig up my favorite ball gown for a little pre-Opera dinner instead of say – hitting up the Irish pub down the street from my apartment tonight.   Really, I’m convinced that I would’ve done quite well as part of the Belle Epoque Café Society. READ MORE

International, New York, TravelBerlin Comes to NYC

I was inspired by my friends over at the Jet Set Girls to set annual travel resolutions in the same style that they do.  To start, I resolved to hit up more places that begin with the letter ‘A’  in 2009, but since I was just invited on a last minute trip to Barbados, decided to go for the ‘B’s’ instead.  I’m excited to leave for the island on April 1, but also sad that I’m missing the few days that another ‘B’  place I’ve been dying to visit - Berlin - comes to New York City.

To kick-off a global celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and mark two decades of change and creativity, the city of Berlin will bring its top fashion designers, filmmakers, musicians and artists to New York. From March 31- April 2, New York will be the first global city to host the “Be Berlin” campaign and “20 Years of Change: Berlin Days in New York City.” READ MORE

Fitness & Health, International, TravelWaves Up in Costa Rica

Ever since I watched Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush, I have harbored this small fantasy of being a surfer chick.  I already love the look of beach hair – so looking fierce, tanned and mastering the waves was obviously the next natural step.  And I got my first taste of the life of a surfer girl (for two hours anyway) during a trip to Playa Jaco in Costa Rica.

About two hours away from San Jose, Playa Jaco is just one of the many renowned surfer towns in Costa Rica and one of the closest.  Because of its proximity to San Jose, hardcore surfers can often de-plane and surf on the same day if they head to Playa Jaco. READ MORE

Bridal, International, TravelMy Big Fat Indian Wedding

In my next life, I decided that I wanted to come back reincarnated as an Indian princess…and if that isn’t possible, I think I would settle for having an Indian wedding in this lifetime.  Being a bride or groom at an Indian wedding is probably the closest a person can ever get to feeling like a Maharaja and Maharani in current times, since Indian weddings are known for being a three day extravaganza of grandeur and opulence.  The wedding I attended a month ago in Jaipur was no different.  With three nights of parties going from evening to past midnight and different outfits for each one, I wondered why anyone would ever want to have a traditional non-Indian wedding.  Elizabeth Hurley, who wedded Indian textile businessman, Arun Nayar last year (see picture left) clearly sees herself the benefits of having an Indian wedding.  She held not just one, but two weddings, including a Western one and a traditional Indian one. READ MORE

International, TravelIndia at a Glance

TDO History Lesson:  I recently went to visit this country, which has the second largest population, is the world’s largest mango producer, and has won 5 Miss World and 2 Miss Universe titles.  Which country is it?

a. China
b. Russia
c. Venezuela
d. India
e. Brazil

The answer?  India, choice D – home to one of the most well-known monuments to honor true love, a population of 1.3 billion people, and a burgeoning film industry.  A few college friends and I recently had the opportunity to visit here to attend the wedding of one of our dear friends, and the trip was everything we could have hoped for: sensory overload, romantic, and beautiful.  The wedding itself was a three day virtual extravaganza of whirlwind dancing, Indian silk outfits, white horses, and delish food, but the story of the grandeur that is Indian weddings is to be described in a post on Thursday. READ MORE

Beauty, International, TravelCamping Trip Survival Guide

Sometimes even fabulous city girls need a little survival handbook- such as when they’ve decided to pack up their beauty closet into a ZipLock bag and head off for a hiking trip in the wilderness.  I recently did just that when I when I braved the Andes Mountains for 4 days on the classic trek to Machu Picchu.  It was a memorable experience in many ways and I came home armed with a bunch of tips for the next TDO reader to hit the Inca Trail.

1.  Airport regulations are still in effect. Some frequent travelers told me that they no longer care about the 3.4oz/Ziplock bag rule but that is a lie.  They care..a lot.   Due to my own laziness, I got my dry shampoo and sunblock confiscated before I even left New York. I paid for it dearly with dirty hair and a peeling sunburn.

2. Pack light but bring enough changes of socks and underwear. Mostly you’ll have to carry your own goods so less is more. I wore the same pair of black lululemon pants throughout my hike but I did bring a pair of jeans to relax into when I was at the campsite every night.  There are no showers so you’ll have to do some mental adjustment but when you’re on the trail a clean change of underwear and socks feel like the best thing in the world. I changed at night before bed and felt fresh enough the next morning to continue. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, International, Travel12 Hours in Lima

When I flew into Jorge Chavez International Airport on an early Friday morning, I wasn’t sure how to spend the day.  I had exactly 12 hours and my only guidance was from my friend, who texted to suggest that I spend the day in Miraflores, the posh shopping and beach area in Lima.  All I had heard coming into the city was that it was a potentially dangerous…and boring place. I was especially skeptical, having just had my ATM card defrauded in Cusco a few days earlier.

My impression didn’t get much better when the airport attendant advised me to walk down to the side of the highway and wait for the bus “with the nice windshields”  and the man that would yell “Miraflores!”  Luckily. my American sensibility kicked in, and my friends and I decided to split a taxi to our destination instead. A 40 minute cab ride dropped us outside Centro Commercial Larcomar, an upscale shopping mall built on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  As much as travelers may not want to see the same things they can find at home, for three girls who had just finished a four day hike in the mountains, we welcomed the sight of Western-looking stores.  Further examination of the mall listing proved that they were in fact all South American stores – very different from the usual suspects I find in New York.  I was especially tickled by a jewelry shop called Aldo&Co, which unlike its synonymous counterpart in the States sells a range of ultra high end labels such as Hermes and Gucci. READ MORE

International, Shopping, TravelHeathrow Terminal 5

Ahh, the travel bug has bitten again…hard. After a year and a half of exclusively traveling within the states, my recent trip to Europe has been an amazing distraction. I spent most of my return trip planning my next international excursions. (A trip to China this fall was already in the works, but I am most excited about possibly traveling to India and some Middle Eastern countries early next year).

The process of traveling itself comes with tons of hassles, but also a set of unique pastimes. For example, with the right companion, I could sit for hours in front of airport runways watching planes land and take off. I also immensely enjoy looking at where each plane is flying and imagine a future trip there. And lastly, I love (duh) hitting up as many duty free shops as I can.

Before my recent trip to London, I read up on Heathrow’s newest Terminal 5 – the recently completed hub of British Airways. This one terminal is actually the largest single span building in the UK. In addition to being huge, it is sleek and chic, bright and clean, and houses the best shopping you could find at any European airport. After 3 hours here, I am convinced that Terminal 5 is destination in itself. READ MORE

The Daily Obsession draws from the expertise of a coast-to-coast editorial team offering dedicated readers reports of the most luxurious products and trends. We provide sophisticated and relevant angles on the latest fashion trends, must-have beauty products, insider interviews, travel destinations and of course, our current obsessions.

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