Tag Archives: hotel

Hotel Mont Blanc

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Originally built in 1849, Hotel Mont Blanc was one of the first of four hotels in the small french ski town of Chamonix nestled in the valley of the majestic Mont Blanc. Over 150 years later and after a recent extensive renovation, this boutique luxury hotel is the perfect balance of classical French design and modern flare. 

We arrived late in the night under a blanket of darkness. It was one of those moonless nights where you could only see what was illuminated by the car headlights. I’ve traveled to some winter wonderlands before but nothing prepared me for the breathtaking view that emerged in that blue tinted early morning light outside our suite’s window as the blanket of darkness drew back behind the mountains. A complete vertical wall of forested, snow covered, mountains wrapped around us jetting out of the ground with magnificent force. In the valley around us, a condensed ski village with plumes of white chimney smoke smudging away the differences between man and nature.

Setting out on an adventure we took the Aiguille du Midi cable cars with their 20 minute sheer vertical climb to the top of Aiguilles de Chamonix where you stand breathless with views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. It’s the highest point in the world that can be accessed by cable car. The air was thin and very very cold, and each step was dizzying and had an unnatural feeling to it as if, for a moment, you could experience what it must be like to be a bird looking down on all the world. Of course the skiing is amazing, and though we didn’t have time, the glacier views I hear are also not to be missed.

After setting out each day it was always a warm welcome coming back to the Hotel Mont Blanc. It’s really the kind of hotel I prefer: boutique in size, historic importance to the location, modern renovations for comfort and exceptional food. If you find yourself in Chamonix, even if you don’t stay here, you must eat at the Le Matafan. Wonderful.

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A night at the Le Bristol

A stay at the historic Le Bristol Hotel Paris.

I was so thrilled last week to attend the book launch of fashion illustrator Megan Hess at the Le Bristol Hotel in the heart of Paris. Her new book “New York through the Fashion Eye” was a wonderful walk down memory lane for me with all the sparkle and glamour that makes New York the fashion capital it is. Flipping through the book brought back a rush of memories and made me, for a moment, homesick for the city that had become my adopted hometown.  Even as I spend this extended time in France, I do still feel like a New Yorker and this book was a reminder of all the beauty she bestows.

The fashionable event was held at the historic Le Bristol Paris, a five star luxury hotel in operation since 1925 and is one of my absolute favorite Parisian hotels. The hotel is part of the Oetker Collection which has announced the Australian born illustrator as their ongoing artist in residence and will be traveling the world to all Oetker properties creating exclusive fashion and lifestyle illustrations for the luxury brand.

After the event I checked into my room on the 8th floor. Always breathtaking, the Le Bristol is classically French from the linens and drapes to the Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture and of course, the Eiffel Tower views her windows gaze out upon. What The Carlyle Hotel is to New York, the Le Bristol is to Paris…. that perfectly Parisian dream.

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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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Bulgari Resort Bali

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Standing elegantly off a cliff overlooking the endless Indian Ocean is the amazing Bulgari Resort Bali. It is a luxury resort balancing the natural elements and Balinese traditions with the sophistication of the Italian design house complete with an Italian restaurant so wonderful it was awarded ‘Best Hotel Restaurant in the World’ by International Food & Beverage Forum.

An amazing juxtaposition of private villas and sprawling mansions sound like a mega resort but that it is certainly not. It maintains a personal sense of privacy, and most importantly for me, peace all while making nature the greatest design element of all. The natural tones and traditional building elements sit the resort comfortably into the lush green and dramatic rocky cliff location.

I started each morning jetlagged at 5am, watching the colors of the sunrise fill the sky. Always first to breakfast, I would sit and have a traditional Balinese soup of chicken broth and noodles with mixed vegetables (and A LOT of spice) to the distant sound of the ocean crashing below. Lunches down by the beach consisted of fresh squeezed juices and light fish while the afternoons were perfectly filled with dips in our private pool before a 4pm walk around the property looking for the resident monkeys to see what trouble they were getting into.

This is my second time visiting Bali. What draws one here mostly, in my opinion, is the culture. The peacefulness of the people and the spirit of the ones who have moved here to be closer to it. Yoga, organic juices, and nature are the commodities of Bali, and are served up here at Bulgari in this beautiful setting. On my first visit to Bali I explored all over the island from hiking to the the top of a volcano to shooting on the black sand beaches and sleeping in a structure made of entirely bamboo. Though on this trip we did venture out to Ubud, mostly I just wanted to stay here at the resort. The beauty and calm is what my soul needed.

So here is to another amazing experience on this little island on the Indian Ocean… 

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