Much like people, certain cities have an indescribable indie cool-factor. Austin, Texas is one of those cities, with serious street cred for the live music scene, its fervent support for local artists, friendliness, and laidback vibe. Mention Austin to anyone and inevitably the response will be, ‘OMG, I LOVE that city!!’ or ‘Is that where Friday Nights Lights is filmed?’ The answer is yes, and clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. I took the opportunity to form my own opinion for New Year’s, trading NYC and its overpriced, crowded, cold bars for breezy Spring temps in the midst of January, let’s-just-have fun demeanor, and uniqueness. I wish I had gone for South by Southwest, but there’s always Austin City Limits! Below, some of my favorites from checking out the town: (more…)
Aquamarine waters, white cliffs, Blue Mountain iced coffee : the essence of irie (Rastafarian for total peace of being) at the Rockhouse in the always relaxed Jamaica. Unlike the frenetic lights-on energy of Vegas, the 24/7 availability of New York, the debauchery of Jamaica is the guilty pleasure of doing nothing and then feeling not guilty at all for doing it.
Thanks to you guys, I discovered the hotel via Twitter-surfing (special thanks to the Bergdorf account) and then via its hordes of accolades (a favorite of Travel and Leisure, GQ, Brides) for a four-day long-needed girls trip back in May. Jamaica is mostly known for the ease of all-inclusive packages like Sandals, but the extremely attentive staff, four-star accommodations, and stone’s throw ocean access make it just as facile and a favorite of people like Nanette Lepore and John Slattery, who visit every year.
Big Sur, California is one of the most amazing, awe inspiring places I’ve ever been to and a must visit for anyone traveling to San Francisco, Los Angeles or anywhere in between. I’ve been meaning to visit ever since my best friend from college did the drive down Highway 1 years ago- so when I was in California earlier this year, I decided to plan my entire trip around the same route. At the advice of one of my friends, I decided to check out Ventana Inn & Spa, an iconic property located right above the waters of Big Sur.
In so many ways, I feel that Ventana Inn embodies the rugged, organic grandeur of the town in which it resides. There is a certain authenticity to the property- from the way the buildings coexists with nature, to the genuine love of the area that their employees have, to the local ingredients used not only in their dinner menu but also in their spa menu, to the overall ambiance of wellness and peace. There is nothing engineered or over the top about this place- but rather a resort that is truly in line with their motto- the essence of Big Sur. (more…)
Recently we had a chance to chat with Washington Post food & travel editor Joe Yonan who recently published the book Serve Yourself – a guide to cooking for one. As a single New York gal, I’ve often struggled with figuring out exactly what and how to make my own dinner. Yes, it sounds silly- but I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve actually developed a strategy for ordering off Seamlessweb. So I was eager to read Joe’s new book and jumped at the chance to find out a little bit more about the man himself- and his life in food and travel. (more…)
It’s really difficult for me to pick a favorite Ritz-Carlton property as I’ve had such a spectacular experience at every one I’ve visited, but if I had to call one out for being exceptionally amazing- it would have to be the Ritz-Carlton at Powerscourt in Ireland. Nestled among the lush gardens and rolling hills of Powerscourt Estate just 30 minutes south of Dublin, The Ritz-Carlton provides the ideal setting for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the romance of Ireland. Having long been a Ritz-Carlton fan, I decided to check in, and check out, the hotel when I was in Ireland last month. (more…)
To me, the Ritz Carlton Los Angeles at LA Live, is quintessentially Los Angeles: glitz, glamour, and grandeur all wrapped up into a very private, very VIP experience for its guests. The hotel is situated at Downtown LA’s bustling city center and shares the building with the JW Marriott, but the second you walk into the Ritz Carlton’s private lobby you feel that you’re being transported to an urban oasis. Located on Fl 22-26 of a 54 story sparkling modern glass building, The Ritz Carlton has just 123 rooms- each featuring a wall of windows looking out onto the cityscape and the Santa Monica mountains. It’s one of the newest and most talked about luxury properties in LA, so when I was in town last month, I made a point to check in- and check out the Ritz Carlton. (more…)
The Fairmont Peace Hotel, located at the prestigious junction of Nanjing East Rd and The Bund in Shanghai was one of the most unique properties I’ve ever visited. Walking inside immediately transports you to the city’s most glamorous decades- the 1920s, 30s, and 40s where lavish galas were hosted almost every night at the hotel. The Peace Hotel recently underwent an extensive renovation before reopening in 2010 under the Fairmont brand. The renovations preserved much of the authentic charm of the original property, while incorporating modern touches and conveniences. As someone who has always been very attracted to Shanghai’s old school glamour, I decided that the Peace hotel was a must visit! (more…)
Equal parts fairy tale, opulent opium den, and downtown high-rise the new Mondrian SoHo brings an eclectic mix of fantasy and luxury to the edgier part of the neighborhood. The 25 story, 270 room hotel is the third Morgans property to be branded under the Mondrian name- joining its LA and Miami counterparts, delivering a signature sleek, trendy and exclusive vibe. I had the opportunity to tour the hotel during its soft opening. (more…)
Tamara Heber-Percy is the co-founder of one of our favorite travel brands, Mr & Mrs Smith, which just launched their US site earlier this month (also check out their fabulous blog!) We love learning about unique and luxurious hotels, so we jumped at the chance to pick the brains of one of the most travel savvy experts out there- and find out her current obsessions!
Shanghai, I noticed, is a city that is somewhat obsessed with grandeur. Walk into any restaurant or hotel and chances are, you’ll almost feel as if you’ve walked into a banquet hall. Red and gold are liberally used in architecture and decor throughout the city- and it’s impossible not to notice the range of bright colorful lights that constantly illuminate the urban skyline. So in this city that can often be flashy, the understated and elegant PuLi Hotel is all the more a welcome respite for discerning travelers. Branded as an “urban resort,” the PuLi strives to be a different type of experience for the Shanghai visitor: the soothing ambiance, round the clock butler service, Zen aura, and focus on wellness makes this as close as you can get to a retreat in the middle of the bustling city. It’s one of the newest and most acclaimed luxury properties in Shanghai- so I made a point to check in- and check out the PuLi last month. (more…)