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Entries in travel (104)

Thursday
Dec222011

This Is An Alaïa

This fabulous Parisian hotel goes beyond boutique. World renowned fashion designer and '80s icon Azzedine Alaïa has converted three 1080 square-feet flats right next to his own studio, shop and warehouse into large full-floor apartment-style suites. Located in the trendy Marais district, the small hotel was designed by Alaïa himself with all the comforts of a home to offer his guests the true essence of everyday Parisian lifestyle — each with its own private entrance. The interiors are divine, just like his collections, with a decor that combines furnishings from past and present. Since the building is right next to his flagship store, guests can snoop out of the back window into his busy atelier.

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Wednesday
Dec142011

Dreaming in Fashion

There is a fine line between fashion and interior design. They're both about proportions, textures, colors and great imagination. Such is the case in Amsterdam's new Hotel The Exchange, where both disciplines meet in the most unexpected and inspiring ways. All of the 61 rooms have been designed and dressed by graduates and alumni of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, turning ordinary hotel rooms into diverse and inspiring spaces—like the neighborhood the hotel is located in. If you're a romantic at heart, you can stay in a Marie Antoinette-inspired room where a huge dress drapes over the walls and unto the bed. Or if you're more of a minimalist, then opt for a room that is based on the old fairy tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Either way, you're guaranteed to have an exceptional stay at The Exchange. Having worked on both fields of the design industry, I would definitely love to experience this place next time I visit the Dutch capital.

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Monday
Dec122011

Holiday Giving: Chapter Four

I don't know about you, but I'm already exhausted trying to find the right presents for my loved ones. I find that presents made by people who care about our earth's well being are always a great choice—and a very appreciated one. So I've put together a collection of eco-friendly gifts that will make your Holidays a little greener. Happy shopping!

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Monday
Dec052011

Out of Africa

It wasn't long ago that I was enjoying the countryside in upstate New York. And to tell you the truth I wouldn't mind going back, except this time a little (well, a lot) further way—South Africa. A breathtaking country retreat, the Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved farms in the Cape Dutch tradition. The days are intentionally unscripted there, leaving guests free to do as they please: stroll out onto the 500-acres farm, see fruit being picked in the orchards, vines being pruned or rather sample some of the excellent wines grown on the slopes all around the Simonsberg—possibly the finest land for wine in Africa. What's not to love about this place? I'm already there in spirit.

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Wednesday
Nov302011

Locally Inspired

For those who love to have a different lodging experience when traveling, this funky hotel is one to consider. Located in a quiet street in the heart of downtown Lisbon, The Lisboanaire Apartments welcome and inspire visitors to discover the traditional and contemporary Portuguese capital and all the small things that make it so special. Local artists and designers lent their unique talents to individually decorate each of the 19 studios and one bedroom apartments, invoking a specific object or place from the surrounding area. The creative direction of the project was overseen by Portuguese architecture and design agency Experimenta, who created a bold, graphic and kooky look to the whole place. The best part: the prices are very affordable starting at 30 euros per person. Who can beat that?

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Tuesday
Nov222011

A New Operatic Star

Paris always has something new and fabulous to offer. When I read about the recent opening of L'Opera Restaurant in the Palais Garnier, I knew right away this was a mandatory stop in my four-day visit to the City of Lights. The project took 136 years in the making, since it was originally part of the "final draft" but never came to completion. Finally, Charles Garnier's dream came a reality when this magnificent space opened its doors this year with an ultra modern design orchestrated by architect Odile Decq. After seeing a phenomenal production of La Source by the Paris Opera Ballet, having dinner here was the perfect compliment to a wonderful evening. Inside, the space is divided into three different areas: the hall, the Martini lounge bar and the mezzanine –all surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling undulating veil of glass. Frankly, it was an absolute treat to dine in a space full of history and with such remarkable contrast between the old and the new. This restaurant is a wonderful addition to what already is an unbelievably breathtaking building.

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Friday
Nov182011

Tastefully Casual

After eighteen days, four cities, four different languages and three currencies, I'm back from my European adventure. Actually, I've been back for a few days, but it has taken me some time to get back into the groove of things. But now, I'm ready to share with you a few treats I discovered. One of the things I enjoy most about traveling is experiencing a city like a native and finding hot and trendy spots frequented by locals. Baldaszti's Grand is one of them: a beautifully styled eatery in Andrássy Avenue, one of Budapest's main tree-lined boulevards where you can find big-name designer shops, the Opera House and several of the city's museums. This lively, cosmopolitan bar and international bistro kitchen is a wonderful place to enjoy an assortment of the world’s leading gourmet products and a wide range of Hungarian specialities with amazingly friendly service. The decor is rather casual with a sophisticated flair. I particularly loved the inventiveness and simplicity of the pendant lights intertwined through branches, and the cozy lounging area on the second floor. It was the perfect spot to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon after hours of walking.

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Thursday
Nov032011

Capturing The Past

Extraordinary in design and unique in character, the Dream Downtown Hotel (located in New York’s Meatpacking District) signals an exciting and imaginative new concept in full-service luxury travel. Frank Fusaro of Handel Architects has gorgeously renovated the iconic Albert C. Ledner building, originally designed in 1966 for the National Maritime Union. While capturing and modernizing the surreal aesthetic that has become synonymous with the Dream hotels brand, the architects preserved the building’s distinct character, including its unique block-like structure and portal windows.

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