When I mentioned to my friends that I was planning a trip to Anguilla, the recommendation was the same across the board: “You must stay at The Viceroy!” Whether they had gone with family, friends, or on their honeymoon, it seemed like everyone had nothing but great things to say about the sprawling Kelly Wearstler-designed resort–and it only took about a minute on property to see why. If there ever was a case where a space could be at once jaw-dropping and impressive yet casual and relaxing, this would be it–the perfect cocktail for a luxurious vacation. (more…)
Revisiting my hometown is like spending time with an old friend- it brings back memories and creates new ones, all the while marveling at the latest changes. I grew up in North Carolina, which is now one of my favorite places to visit in part due to the burst of new restaurants, bars, museums and of course, southern charm. The pace is slow and friendly, and the air is clean- relaxation is paramount to my visits. This past trip included an experience I would gladly travel for again: an organic facial at the breathtaking Umstead Hotel and Spa. The spa itself has just undergone a comprehensive three month renovation, and I was amazed by the transformation. The 16,000 square feet of sprawling space spans two floors and takes its cue from nature, encouraging contemplation and relaxation. Natural elements of river rock, granite, bamboo, and glass have been incorporated into the updated design, which is fitting given the close proximity of the resort to the William B. Umstead State Park. During my spa experience, I fell in love with the textiles, locally sourced pottery and artwork which create the unique ambiance of the spa. The spa’s whirlpool is perfect for settling the mind and soul before or after a treatment. If the weather is warm, the quiet outdoor pool area is ideal for lounging and taking in the serene tree canopy and Carolina blue sky, which spa guests are privy to! (more…)
As the leftover turkey wanes and your waistline waxes, remember this: There’s still hope — and discounted gym memberships — come New Year’s Day. But if you can’t wait until then, consider dipping into your savings and booking a quickie at The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu‘s Ranch 4.0 (aka R4.0) program. According to the founders, it’s “life-changing.”
A shortened version of the Ranch’s original 7-day program, the R4.0 program is held Thursday through Monday for those who can’t get away from their lives for a full week but still want a “jump start” to their fitness, weight loss and wellness goals. It features up to 10 hours a day of rigorous activity, including four hours of morning mountain hiking, an afternoon of exercise classes, daily group yoga sessions, a daily massage, a diagnostic fitness test and a VO2 metabolic test. (Whew! I got a workout just typing that.)
While it may seem intense, this mind-body retreat/boot camp is far from rustic. Held at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village with the California Health & Longevity Institute (CHLI), it includes a daily 1400-calorie diet of gourmet vegetarian fare, a healthy nutrition class and cooking demo led by a registered dietitian/chef in what they call the “Wellness Kitchen,” plus lodging at the Four Seasons and access to The Spa at Four Seasons.
And, unlike the 7-day program, you can stay plugged in (meaning you can actually get Wi-Fi). The catch? It’s $3,800 per person. (I know, I know … but think of it this way: It’s a steal compared to the 7-day $6,200 price tag!)
We had a chance to interview Ranch founders Alex and Sue Glasscock about the 4.0 concept, and here’s what they had to say: (more…)
Traveling with the whole family doesn’t mean sticking to Disney and eating at McDonald’s! For the chic and adventurous set, having the little ones in tow opens up a whole new world of discovery. While researching for upcoming voyages, I’m always searching for a balance of fun, luxury, culinary adventure, and cultural knowledge. The hardest thing is knowing who to trust for well-curated recommendations–until now. The new Little Luxe City Guides are a godsend of valuable gems of information, and draw from the expertise of the original Luxe City Guides which have been popular with jetsetters for years. Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bali are the exotic destinations in the Little Luxe family, and provide a trusted source of concise information, easily tucked into a carry-on bag! The accordion style guides are protected by a plastic cover and can function as a quick reference when abroad, or even a jumping-off point for doing research in preparation. It’s a time-saver shortcut to the best kid-friendly hotels and villas, interesting activities, and even cute kid stores, so you have a savvy insider’s point of view from the start. (more…)
I feel like I’m stepping into a New York fantasy as I walk into the cool monochromatic marble lobby of The Surrey Hotel. Suddenly I’m no longer that city girl schelpping bags from the subway (the bellmen already took care of those), I’m a more refined lady as I stand a little taller and move a little slower among my new immaculate surroundings. Located on the prettiest stretch of East 76th St between Madison and Fifth Avenues, The Surrey is every bit as elegant as its address would suggest: a 1920′s Beaux Art townhouse with a soothing muted color palette, luxurious furnishings, and Lauren Rottet designed interiors. But it’s Upper East Side posh with a decidedly modern attitude–and one that I love as I spot Chuck Close’s enormous tapestry of Kate Moss welcoming me in the hallway.
I’m not checking into The Surrey just for any ol’ occasion, however–I’m here to get ready for my wedding, and as with anything wedding related, there was a lot of thought put into this decision. First and foremost, I wanted a hotel that is photogenic, and every square inch of the Surrey certainly was. There’s not a bland corner to found on property–from the plush Bar Pleiades (described by my friend as the architectural interpretation of a Chanel bag) to the peaceful and artfully designed rooftop garden. The public and private areas of the hotel also house an impressive modern art collection, which adds interesting variety to the space. Rooms at the property are split into salons and suites with each one graciously appointed in neutral palette of creams, beiges, and greys lending a sophisticated and soothing feel to the space. Salons, which range from 330 to 570 square feet are single rooms outfitted with hand-painted wardrobe armoires, oversized desks, spacious sitting areas, and Duxiana beds complete with custom Sferra bedding. Suites, which can go up to 660 square feet, contain separate living areas, small kitchens, dining tables, soaking tubs, and private terraces. As a bride though, I’m going all out and zip up the elevator to the very top floor–The Penthouse Suite. (more…)
Ahh, The Hamptons. The hamlet at the very end of Long Island is always in the media and on the travel list of the chic jet-set for a good reason: it really is incredibly beautiful and relaxing. But like any place that gets a little too popular, it can start to lose a bit of its natural character during peak season, which is why my favorite time to visit is actually the fall. So with foliage in full bloom and the weather still considered warm, I headed out for a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation (and of course, an obligatory visit to the beach).
My favorite town in the collective “Hamptons” is East Hampton, with its charming town center, pristine beach, good restaurants, easy access to wineries, and overall calm atmosphere. It’s not as rowdy as its neighbor to the west, Southampton, and still more refined than its sea-side neighbor to the east, Montauk–but within easy distance to either town so you can still party or surf to your heart’s content. My idea of a good time in the Hamptons however, involves neither activity–I am getting away after all–so I prefer to eat, drink, and be cozy.
Luckily, I was staying at c/o The Maidstone,, a quaint Scandinavian lifestyle hotel right in the heart of East Hampton. With a restaurant serving some of the finest Scandinavian food I’ve ever tasted, a cozy lounge with cocktails that rival the best in Manhattan, and Hastens luxury beds in every room, the hotel immediately met all my Hampton vacation requirements and more. (more…)
For New York City dwellers, few things are as important to our well-being as simply getting away. Of course there are the obvious options — jaunts to the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons, but starting off a weekend of relaxation by sitting in traffic always seemed less than ideal. Instead, I prefer to search for sanctuaries in the city — whether a hidden restaurant or a quiet bar to enjoy a cocktail overlooking snowy streets — where I can retreat to at any time. My latest discovery is the Shibui Spa, a tranquil Japanese-inspired spa located in the luxurious Greenwich Hotel.
Walking into the hotel, I immediately feel a sense of calm and privacy. There are no travelers rushing about or too many staffers greeting you at every turn. Instead the concierge smiles and directs me to the spa — a short elevator ride one floor down — where when I arrive, the receptionist already knows me by name. The spa artfully blends luxury and tranquility, with a heavy emphasis on Japanese design and treatments. The focal point of the spa is a lantern lit pool (one of the largest I’ve seen in the city), which is surrounded by a 250-year old Japanese farmhouse, artfully constructed using antique Japanese craftsmanship. Here guests can lounge and enjoy tea or dried fruit before or after their treatments. (more…)
On the drive to the gem that is Kiawah Island Resort just outside Charleston, South Carolina, I fell in love with the South all over again. The sun twinkled through the towering trees and hanging spanish moss to create a fantastical charm that simply cannot be found anywhere else. The resort is built on an island 10 miles wide, lined with wide scenic beaches and is one of the world’s premier destinations for golf (the Ocean Course is a past host of the PGA Tournament), thus making it my husband’s favorite place on earth. Accommodations can be custom tailored to visitors’ needs, from the award-winning Sanctuary Hotel to gorgeous houses ranging from traditional to contemporary that can be rented by the night (perfect for our next visit with our daughter!). The Sanctuary is an elegant mansion overflowing with graceful decor from sumptuous fabrics to soaring windows, inviting the panoramic ocean view in. The resort has won several Conde Nast Travel awards, including #1 Resort on the U.S. Mainland and #1 Island in North America. The top-notch service of the resort is a testament to their recognition, with someone always eager to be of help, whether in the pools or restaurants. (more…)
As soon as I sauntered into the James Royal Palm on South Beach, I felt like I was transported back to 1963, where I might turn a corner and run into Don Draper on assignment. Everything from the coffee bar in the lobby to the green-on-wood entrance to the Florida Cookery restaurant screams retro chic. The beachfront location affords prime views and service, so instead of running to the action, it comes to you. This 1939 Art Deco classic recently underwent a top to bottom renovation, preserving the original aesthetic with a modern sensibility.
The original green-glass reception desk has been perfectly preserved and restored, and now serves as the coffee bar while art installations throughout the hotel are a nod to Miami’s famous modern art scene and deserve a double take when passing through the halls. Dapper gentlemen and ladies at the front desk direct guests to its 393 guest rooms and suites My go-to source for happening hotels, Conde Nast Traveler, has taken notice of its gorgeous makeover and featured the James Royal Palm on its 2013 Hot Hotels List! Speaking of hot, the hotel’s club SL draws the beautiful young Miami crowd in with its earth-shaking sound system, so guests need not worry about traveling to find the action or bump elbows with a few celebs. (more…)
“Hello, Pretty!” was the welcome we got from Amelia, the friendly blue and green parrot whose main gig is being the mascot of the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. We recently took a short flight to the Florida property for a long weekend–now that we have a little one tagging along on our travels, short flights and a relaxing atmosphere are sine qua non. A 40-minute drive from Jacksonville airport and we were right on the beach, enjoying the waves and warmth. The hotel is nestled among rolling sand dunes, and several boardwalks connect to the private beach, where the crew is eager to help you get settled and entertained. (more…)