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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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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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.
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While in Charleston shooting Helen Rice as part of our “Inspiring Women” series, we stayed at the most beautiful historic boutique hotel you could ever imagine down south, Zero George. Just a short walk from the thriving shops and restaurants of Meeting & King streets and perfectly renovated to balance the original wood floor planks to our much needed modern amenities, it’s just the kind of place you would call a home away from home…
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