Cathay CX 880 departs at 11.40 pm, so I was already exhausted
On my most recent trip to Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to get an award ticket back home to Los Angeles on Cathay Pacific Airlines in First Class. If you’re saving your frequent flyer miles in your Award Wallet* account for an aspirational ticket for your international holidays, this is one worth aiming for! My husband and I took separate flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles (he left a day earlier) since we could not get two first class award tickets on the same flight, and we both wanted the Cathay First experience.
Rumor has it there might be a better International First Class product out there, but I have yet to experience it. First class flying is always fun, but Cathay’s sublime service makes every international flight a pleasure, and takes the pain out of the long haul from HKG to LAX. Cathay Pacific Airlines remains my first true airline love. Some of my favorite touches: the Shanghai Tang sleep suit (which I really wanted to keep but didn’t. I have, however, noticed a few for sale on eBay). The lovely Aesop amenities kit, including an adorable tube of my all-time favorite, Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, which exploded a tiny bit when opened under pressure. The champagne is still Krug, also my bubbly of choice.
The theme for this week’s #FriFotos is pools. As anyone who has ever seen David Hockney‘s work, or the photographs of Slim Aarons, or even remembers anything about Phoebe Cates lounging around the pool in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Pools are just plain cool. Iconic, blue, and irresistable. Pools are one of the few things that benefit from being shallow (if only on one end). I love everything about pools except for paying for the heating bill of my own. I adore just looking at them, dipping my toes in, or jumping in and taking the plunge. Here are some of my favorite swimming pool photos from my travels, put together in a pool photo gallery.
Afternoon dip at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs.
Here are a few of my favorite hotel pools from my travels. Recent favorites include the pool at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, which is as refined as Coachella is not. I also was impressed by the dockside pool at Standard Miami (first image below) to the trippy Bamboo pool at the sexy Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Mexico had a swim up bar where I made a few friends the last time I was in the Rivera Maya for vacation.
The glorious deco-inspired exterior of 45 Park Lane
With London’s Olympic games just a few short months away, it should come as no surprise that the city’s luxury hotel sector is bringing it’s A game to the always competitive 5 star hotel scene.
On my last trip to London, I was lucky enough to get to stay at 45 Park Lane, a 5 star property in Mayfair overlooking Hyde Park, which just opened for business in fall of 2011.
45 Park Lane Park Suite, Complete With Starlet
45 Park Lane is part of the Dorchester Collection, which has some seriously swanky classic properties in its portfolio (The Beverly Hills Hotel here in California, Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris among others). While I’m very comfortable at the restaurants and bars in those properties, I wasn’t sure I’d be comfortable staying a Dorchester Collection property, as super-classic is something I find a bit intimidating and sometimes stuffy.
Fortunately, 45 Park Lane oozes modern luxury in a sexy and sophisticated way. As soon as I walked into the lobby the red leather sofas and classic rock (specifically Fleetwood Mac circa Rumors) put me at ease. The building itself is an instant classic: It’s gleaming and deco-inspired overlooks Hyde Park, which gives each of the 45 rooms at the property a park view, and bathed in golden light at night. It’s right next door to it’s sister property, The Dorchester, which allows guests of 45 Park Lane to use their spa facilities by conveniently popping next door.
One of the first things I noticed was the incredible art in the hotel. I’m a photographer and when I notice not one, but a series of works by Damian Hirst, I know I’m someplace special. Someplace that values art.
45 Park Lane entry
Maybe it’s because I’m a hippie at heart, but of all the modern faux holidays out there my favorite just might be Earth Day (celebrated on April 22nd). The origins of Earth Day pretty much coincide with the start of modern environmental movement. Meant to promote awareness awareness of the world’s natural environments, Earth Day is about inspiring us to protect them. This weekend is a groovy trifecta of Earth Day, Coachella and 4/20 (which also celebrates things organic and hydroponic). I’m in the mood to wear patchouli oil, crank up a little Willie Nelson and rock a the Haute Hippie Magic Women dress from Bleu and celebrate Mother Earth like a 5 star flower child. I might even plant a tree or five!
In honor of Earth Day, here are some of my favorite photos from my travels of some of the very different environments I’ve been most inspired by from Australia to Africa. The world is full of special places, even if they are just around the corner.
Self-portrait in a mokoro, the canoe used commonly in Botswana Okavango swamp, which is the world’s largest inland Delta. I stayed at the amazing Xudum Lodge, AndBeyond has such a commitment to sustainability and the environment I can’t recommend them enough. Best glamping around!
Okavango delta Botswana & Giraffes in Botswana
Wadi Rum desert sky
I am rather fond of deserts, and the immense beauty of Jordan’s Wadi Rum just took my breath away. If you like deserts-capes and have already seen Joshua Tree, then I say Visit Jordan!
Iceland is a geothermic powerhouse. And Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is a muddy, sulpheric good time (and very close to Reykjavik).
I’ll admit, I was a wee bit hesitant to stay at the Trump SoHo because I had never stayed at a Trump Collection property didn’t know what to expect, and The Donald’s image made me a bit concerned that I wouldn’t like the vibe.
The Trump SoHo – Huge luxury bathrooms, especially so for New York City
I was pleased to discover that the Trump SoHo is far more Ivanka than Donald, and this full-service luxury hotel is exactly what the downtown New York City luxury hotel scene needs. It’s stylish and sophisticated and caters to guests who care about the details.
Because it’s part residential and part hotel, the rooms feel like a well-designed Manhattan apartment. The hallways aren’t large, leaving more space for the rooms which are all over 400 square feet. There are also several one bedroom suites which can be combined should you be visiting on an extended stay with your family. The price point is “view sensitive”- so if you need more more space for the kids, less of a view, you can select a larger room on a lower floor that meets your five star budget needs.