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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Entries in Travel (95)


Signature Starck

While looking for a place to ring in the New Year, the hotel's concierge gave us a list of cool places in Madrid where to celebrate the big night. Among them was Ramses, a fabulous club designed by renowned design guru Philippe Starck — and one of the “it” places in the Spanish capital. Knowing Starck's imaginative style, we immediately put it on top of the list. So we took a stroll to the famous Puerta de Alcala, where it is located, to take a peek before making a decision. The multi-level restaurant/bar/lounge was everything I was expecting, and more. The place has several dining rooms, lounge areas and a club, each more stunning and eccentric than the other.

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Moooi: Amsterdam

In my recent trip to Amsterdam, one of my must-visit places on my list was the famous Moooi store and gallery. To feel like locals, we rented bikes and headed to one of the oldest part of town where this hot spot of interior goodies and unique gifts is located. When you first come in into the building, also housing Dutch designer Marcel Wander's headquarters, you're welcomed by the beautiful Raymond lamp and stunning mosaic tile floors.

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Into the woods

If you're adventurous at heart and always wanted to know what it feels like to sleep in the middle of the woods, now you can head to Sweden's boreal forest and stay at the magical Treehotel. Inspired by the film documentary “Trädälskaren” (Treelover) by Jonas Selberg Augustsen, the seven room-size structures are if nothing works of art. They were built and are run daily with ecological values in mind. The Bird's Nest, one of my favorites, plays with the contrast of a rough exterior and a very slick modern interior. And if you're wondering, people can access it through a retractable staircase.

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A lacy twist

In my recent visit to Antwerp, I stayed at the very hip Hotel Banks. The two things I loved most about this place were the daily happy hour, with free drinks and delicious tapas, and the cool decor throughout. But the screens used to divide the different areas in the lobby really caught my eye — I had never seen something like them. They were inspired by the region's well-known ancient craft of lace making and combined with industrial chain-link fence. The intriguing fusion of these two patterns created an amazing look.

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When in Amsterdam

I have finally arrived in the land of the tulips and windmills where I'll be staying for the next few days. After checking into the hip Hotel V, we hit the streets in order to stay awake and fight the jet lag and fatigue. Walking around a maze of canals, we found some amazing furniture and design stores that I'll be including in my list of favorite places to shop...stay tuned. I will do my best to give you daily updates of my travels and the beautiful things this part of the world has to offer. On today's agenda we'll be visiting a couple of famous museums in town, and later I'll be doing another of my favorite cultural activities, SHOPPING – or most likely window shopping. For now, I'll give you a peek of this cool hotel where we're staying. Off we go!

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Relax in ‘Classe’

In doing research for my upcoming trip to Amsterdam and Antwerp (leaving on Thursday), I came across this amazing old village school converted into this gorgeous four-star hotel in the heart of the most beautiful region of Belgium. The owners' concept for La Classe came from wanting to break away from the traditional idea of rustic group accomodations. It's obvious that the seven-rooms auberge was designed with comfort, relaxation and refinement in mind. From designer furniture to meticulously landscaped gardens, everything in this place reflects a high standard of taste. Even the dinnerware (left) was especially designed by a local potter. And what's most amazing is that you can still see some of the school's identity all around. Even the rooms are named after school subject

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In the kitchen

The Museum of Modern Art

If you’re planning to visit New York in the next six months, you must make time to visit the Counter Space: Design and Modern Kitchen exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art.  It’s a wonderful display that takes you through the twentieth-century transformation of the kitchen as heart of the home, and its changing technologies, aesthetics and ideologies. The exhibit has four different themes: The New Kitchen, Frankfurt Kitchen (a new acquisition by the Modern and highlight of the show), Visions of Plenty and Kitchen Sink Dramas. So start planning your trip as the show runs through March 14, I highly recommend it.

Read the exhibit's review in The New York Times.

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