Tag Archives: historic hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel George V

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Up, up and away we go around the world. Here I am in Paris, a city of never-ending inspiration for me. The past month I have been to Bali, Maine, New York, GermanyReims, Provence and my favorite city on earth ‘bien sur’, Paris.

There is something about her perfect corridors and boulevards that simply takes my eyes down an endless journey of dreams. There are so many reasons why I love Paris, but mostly it is because she can leave you feeling enchanted, eyes wide open, like watching a beautiful ballerina floating weightless, as if being held up by the dancing musical notes projected from the orchestra below.

In my memories of Paris she remains this white coral shell, precious and valuable and under the full moonlight, absolutely glowing. I stood on the balcony of my Four Seasons Hotel George V suite, jetlagged from my marionetting around the world, and watched her there, quiet and asleep, and completely translucent from the night’s light. It is a gift of travel at times to deliver an altered view of life, be it warped time or foggy daydreams, that puts you in a place you might not have ever been mentally or physically and all the sudden, you see the world in a way that is neither familiar nor dishonest. You see the truth in the beauty of where your body rests at that moment, a clearer present, observing through a mirror that which will again disappear with time. When the lost hours of airplane travel caught up to me, I drifted to sleep wrapped in a French dream of crown modelings, baby blue brush strokes of color and ornately draped curtains whose edges giggled with a can-can line of tassels.

I can’t even remember arriving to Paris that day, having travelled for 24 hours. Did a driver pick me up or did I Uber? I don’t know. The first thing I do recall however, was walking into the lobby of the George V and being hit like a tidal wave of beauty with a wall of flowers exploding in crimson and purple, unforgiving and spellbinding. I gasped, my eyes awake for the first time in hours as I took off my sunglasses and did a full 360 degree turn absolutely breathless at the beauty of this hotel lobby. There are not a lot of hotels that are beautiful enough to distract you from the alluring fact that Paris herself is waiting. This is one of the exceptions. Like only a handful of other Parisian hotels, she is so ingrained in the history and culture of this city that being here feels just the same as being outside. As decadently rich as French culture.

Built in 1928, the Four Seasons Hotel George V is positioned in one of the most luxurious blocks of Paris. A stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées and the Effiel Tower, her location in the world is among the most prestigious. I felt like royalty swanning around her private balconies with the setting sun. Dining in her restaurants, the modern and feminine L’Orangerie, the elegant and traditional three Michelin starred Le Cinq with the most unforgettable “deconstructed French onion soup” paired with Madeira wine that imprinted my tastebuds so impactfully that I have literally dreamed about it since.

A moment ago I found myself in the glamorous world of the Four Seaons Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat along the French Cote d’Azur. To sum up both experiences in one word: Loveliness. 

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Palihouse

Palihouse in Santa Monica, California

While out in California shooting the NYDJ experience we took up residence at Palihouse in Santa Monica. This charming, historic 1927 boutique beach lodge was the perfect home away from home. Every morning we had fresh squeezed orange juice on the terrace and did work emails cozied up by the fire. One of the main reasons I chose this hotel, aside from my deep love for historic properties, was it’s location. The beach, third street promenade, farmer’s market and Santa Monica pier were all walkable. Many times we borrowed the hotel’s bikes to cruise up and down the beach or pop over to Venice for dinner. Our room was more like an apartment than traditional hotel room — we had a living area, two walk in closets and a kitchen which made the extended stay very relaxing.

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Inkaterra La Casona Hotel

fireplace615 Finding a balance between historic and new is a very fine line. I have never stayed in a hotel that has walked that line more perfectly than Inkaterra La Casona.

Tucked away on a quiet square just a few blocks from the main hubbub, this very small 11-suite luxury boutique hotel subscribes to the discrete way of life where luxury exists in pride, quality, history, upkeep and experience. Why I love it: the hotel was originally built as a mansion in the 16th century first occupied by Conquistadores and to this day maintains the design and architecture of the original manor.

So here is how it goes, you step into an antique carved wooden door back in time, the smell of eucalyptus dances around your body. They hand you a cup of the local ‘coca tea’ which comes in handmade pottery crafted by the owner of the hotel. This was my first experience with coca tea which was not unlike a green tea in taste, coffee in effect but most notable made from the same plant used to produce cocaine. So there’s that. On the second floor you find your suite, peacefully facing the inner courtyard dripping in colonial history and begging to be instagrammed (which I did here, and here, and here and here, and here). The room is warm and soft with original textile murals, baroque wood colonial furniture and those beautiful Spanish accents including white adobe walls so thick each room has to have it’s own wifi. The heated tile in the bathroom leads you to one of those perfect bathtubs which can (and if you’re me, will) be filled with a bubble bath infused in local aromatic oils. Biggest surprise… when you get into bed at night to the roaring fire at the foot of your bed, you’ll find a chocolate on your pillow and a hot water bottle under your sheets.

The best part about this hotel aside from the beauty of preserved history is their commitment to the future through conservation and programs such as Carbon Neutral. Beautiful and smart- doesn’t get more perfect than that.

 In sum, TOTAL ROMANCE.

A stay at the luxury botique hotel Inkaterra La Casona Hotel in Cusco, Peru A stay at the luxury botique hotel Inkaterra La Casona Hotel in Cusco, Peru A stay at the luxury botique hotel Inkaterra La Casona Hotel in Cusco, Peru A stay at the luxury botique hotel Inkaterra La Casona Hotel in Cusco, Peru A stay at the luxury botique hotel Inkaterra La Casona Hotel in Cusco, Peru

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Greyfield Inn

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While we were in California last year, spending the day photographing Lake Tahoe with our friends, Adam Katseff and his wife Amy, they told us about the Greyfield Inn…the magical place they stayed on their honeymoon, one that they knew I would LOVE (turned out to be a major understatement). I knew the name sounded familiar, and once they mentioned it was on Cumberland Island, it all came back to me…an enchanting wedding, an all-American couple…but more on that tomorrow…

After hearing about it, I knew I had to see Greyfield Inn for myself and with the trip down to visit SCAD, it was the perfect opportunity. I’m an extremely visual person and I’m sure it comes to no surprise to you that I quite often dream about the way life looked “back then”. I think walking through the doors of Greyfield will be as close as I will ever get to knowing the way it might have actually looked…

You leave your car on Amelia Island and Mitti, one of the four owners and inheritors of Greyfield and the Carnegie property, takes you by boat to Cumberland Island. Walking up from the dock the giant, old live oaks seem to wave at you with their long fingers of Spanish moss, diffusing the afternoon sun into a sparkling haze underneath their centuries-old canopy. Then, from behind the trees you catch the first glimpse of the four story white mansion they call Greyfield. Built in 1900 as a wedding gift to the Carnegie’s daughter, Margaret, this home is still furnished with many of the original pieces of that era but with exceptional modern day comforts (ummm…air-conditioning). As you walk up the grand staircase to the second floor porch lined with rocking chairs and swinging daybeds, you regret how short your stay is. Now, up in the canopy of live oaks, you overlook the property of white picketed fences and fields of grazing wild horses and as they offer you organic rosemary lemonade, if you’re like me, you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.

The house, grand as it is, still holds a very sweet intimacy. At night, sitting out by the waterway looking back on her, she stands a soft pearly white in the light of the moon, framed by Spanish moss draped trees with a golden light glowing out of every window, so warm and welcoming you would swear the evening was meant just for you. The charm extends to the inside with its historic clawfoot bathtubs, immaculate upkeep, full service bar, organic meals, classic high quality southern linens and L’Occitane toiletries. Every evening, men in dinner jackets and ladies in our sweet southern dresses snack on hors d’oeuvres and classic Southern cocktails (recipe for my favorite below!), awaiting a dinner bell around 7:30 where we all move into the formal dining room for that night’s seasonal meal which at times can harvest ingredients from Greyfield’s own impressive garden.

I know on busy New York days or times when I’m caught in a blizzard, I will think back on this memory and my soul will fill with the warmth of these sunny afternoons, lost on Cumberland Island in a dream called Greyfield

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