Archive for March, 2014

The Bird’s Nest at Tiamo Resort South Andros, Bahamas

The screened in porch off the master bedroom of the Bird’s Nest

During my recent stay at Tiamo Resort, I got to tour the Bird’s Nest with General Manager Wilfried Vincent.

Relaxed island luxury in the living room of the Bird’s Nest at Tiamo

While all the villas at Tiamo offer quite a bit of privacy, The three bedroom Bird’s Nest definitely steps up the luxury a notch or three.

The Bird’s Nest features a full kitchen

Set back a bit from the the other villas, The Bird’s Nest offers even more privacy. Plus there is 1400 square feet of private terrace over two levels. The layout features a master bedroom upstairs (with a large and lovely screened in porch just off it) that feels like you’re floating among the palm trees (hence the name Bird’s Nest).

Left: Kitchen details Right: dining table in the Bird’s Nest

The decor is island elegant and sophisticated, and totally unfussy. There are two bedrooms are on the ground floor, making the layout ideal for a couple traveling with children, teens, or staff. The Bird’s Nest is the only accommodation at Tiamo that accepts children under the age of 12.

The 3 bedroom private villa features a pool

I’m not surprised one of Hollywood’s sexiest celebrity couples chooses to come back to Tiamo and stay at the Bird’s Nest every year. It offers secluded privacy and luxury and is only steps away from all Tiamo’s other facilities.

One of the two bedrooms on the ground floor of the Bird’s Nest

Two beds in one of the downstairs bedrooms

I loved the master bedroom’s hand painted Bahamian curtains

Palm trees sway outside the bedroom off the master bedroom

The master bathroom features a tub and separate shower

Glass tiled details in one of the downstairs bathrooms

Another gorgeous day on Tiamo’s private beach on South Andros Island

 

Tiamo Resort & Spa

Driggs Hill – South Andros Island, The Bahamas

Phone: (1) 786 374-2442 (from USA) / (1) 242 225-6871 (from Bahamas)

Fax: (1) 242 369-2335

reservations@tiamoresorts.com

Tiamo Resort is a part of Small Luxury Hotels Of the World.

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March in Montana at Ranch at Rock Creek

Rustic chic bathroom and western decor the Historic Barn Loft

March has been a crazy month, taking me from the Caribbean to cowboy country– Philipsburg, Montana where I’m currently checking out The Ranch at Rock Creek .

When I got invited to spend a few days here at the ranch, I couldn’t say no. This is the first spring I’ve visited Montana and the weather has been far more pleasant than I imagined with highs in the 50s two days ago, and a touch of snow yesterday.

Stay tuned to the blog for future in-depth coverage on the Ranch at Rock Creek. I’ve also been live blogging for the Glamping.com blog. You can check out my first post here. You can read my second post here. You can read my third post here.

The dining room at The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana

Left: A Missoula Mule Right: The organic cheeseburger made with beef purchased from local 4H members

For lunch: the Pintler Range steak salad with yummy kale

Left: Snacks left on the bar after lunch right: who wants fresh baked chocolate chip cookies

The house drink– a Missoula Mule is served in these killer copper mugs

The bowling alley at the Silver Dollar Saloon

Claw foot bath tub and Chandelier

I love this vintage Remington typewriter but it would be impossible to run a blog without the interweb

March in Big Sky Country

*Much thanks to  the Ranch at Rock Creek and VKPR team for hosting my stay here at the Ranch

Update: you can read my post about the 3rd day at the Ranch at Rock Creek here.

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Almost a Private Island: A Stay at Tiamo Resort South Andros, Bahamas

The view from the dock when you arrive at Tiamo Resort on South Andros Island

My recent stay at Tiamo Resort felt like I was on a private island, without the crazy price tag. Located on South Andros, one of the Out Islands in the Bahamas, Tiamo is remote. I got there via a flight to Nassau, and then a 20 minute hop on a puddle jumper, a short drive in a taxi, and finally a 10 boat ride before pulling up to Tiamo’s private dock and catching a glimpse of the uncrowded beach, floating loungers, and crystal clear Caribbean water. It was worth the multiple forms of transportation.

Eco chic and simple Bahamian cottages at Tiamo

Tiamo is a perfect example of the difference between nice and fancy. It’s hella nice, but not overdone to the point where the facilities are competing the gorgeous environment. I stayed in a Pool Villa (room #2) which was a very nice version of a typical Bahamian cottage. It was super comfortable with a king sized bed, writing desk, large walk in closet and screened in sitting area and small plunge pool. But it wasn’t over the top– the bathroom was located at the back of the villa under a thatched roof. This made it feel authentic rather than an architect’s showplace.

The island chic bar at Tiamo is a nice place to relax before sunset

Tiamo also has a 3 bedroom house called the Bird’s Nest that I will cover in a separate post. The point of Tiamo is to enjoy the unspoiled beaches and chillax. There are lots of water activities to keep you busy– snorkeling, scuba, paddle boarding among others, and South Andros is a major spot for bone fishing (which is a fly fishing technique where you are propelled on a boat with a tower). 

Dining tables set around the pool also have a view of the beach

After less than 24 hours here, my traveling companion, Zan, dubbed Tiamo “Chill Island.” This is truly a place to get away from the stresses of everyday life. You’re not going to have to get up at dawn to claim two lounge chairs because your villa already has them waiting for you. With only ten villas, and one private house, crowds are never a problem.

Waffles in paradise

Meals are included in the room rates and activities are scheduled around them. There is a cooked to order breakfast in addition to a buffet, lunch is served between 12-2pm. At around 5 pm Happy Hour begins in the bar and the friendly staff will get you some snacks if you’d like to nibble on something (or feed the on-property iguanas) while taking in the spectacular sunset.

Caprese salad on the deck for lunch at Tiamo

Portion size isn’t huge (which I appreciated) and the staff could make alterations for allergies and dislikes, etc.

Chic, simple and not overdone interiors at Tiamo

The other guests on the island were all friendly, but you rarely see them at other than meal times because they might be off bone fishing while you’re paddle boarding. The staff is super friendly. Both the Marine Master, Lee, and Nick, who worked with him, made sure that our snorkel times and activities worked with both tides and meal times.

Left: The thached roof shower and glass tile in the bathroom Right: side by side sinks in my pool villa

The resort has free wifi throughout, and the mini-fridge in our villa was filled with Bahamian sands beer. There is some incredible snorkeling in the area and scuba diving as well. Or you can rent a boat by the hour and go waterskiing or sailing or deep sea fishing. Or just laze in a hammock and read.

Algotherm amenities in bathroom at Tiamo

Paddle boarding quickly became my favorite because you could glide effortlessly over graceful stingrays and lemon sharks in the shallow water just off Tiamo’s dock.

A friendly Andros iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura) basking in the sun at Tiamo

The entire resort can be rented out for events like reunions or weddings, but there really doesn’t seem to be a need to do it. With only 11 rooms, it’s far from crowded. At one point, Zan looked down at the deserted stretch of white sand beach and yelled “Wilson!” a la Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Welcome drinks at Tiamo

Since the resort is remote, staff (and supplies) are all brought in by boat. So meal times are fixed and there isn’t 24 hour room service. But it wasn’t a problem. Julien, who runs the front office, made sure we had coffee delivered to our villa before dawn on the morning we had to depart.

A Caribbean blue cocktail at Tiamo

At Tiamo the food is good, but not haute cuisine. If you need a celebrity chef, you’d be better off staying in Nassau.

Sands Bahamian beer and a killer South Andros sunset at Tiamo

I also appreciated that cocktail prices were reasonable ($12 for a margarita– or 2 during Happy Hour) since there aren’t a lot of options other than those in-house.

Tiamo’s private dock

Tiamo is chic and relaxed luxurious Caribbean getaway and a great option for honeymooners or those who don’t need a night life scene while they are on vacation. Due to the remote and relaxed authentic style of the resort, children under 12 are not allowed unless they stay in the Bird’s Nest.

Uncrowded beaches had Zan yelling “Wilson!” a la Tom Hanks in Castaway

There is a spa and small gift shop as well, but I was so relaxed and enjoying the natural beauty of South Andros, spa treatments seemed unnecessary.

Waterskiing is just one of the water activities to choose from at Tiamo

Unforgettable Sunsets on a chilled out island

Tiamo Resort & Spa

Driggs Hill – South Andros Island, The Bahamas

Phone: (1) 786 374-2442 (from USA)

Fax: (1) 242 369-2335

reservations@tiamoresorts.com

Rates start at $903.60 (per villa for two people, including food, transportation to/from the airport and most activities) note* alcoholic beverages and some activities are additional

Tiamo Resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

 

Disclosure* This post would not be possible without SLH Hotels and Tiamo Resorts, who arranged for the resort to hosting me for two nights

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A Stay at the American Trade Hotel in Panama City, Panama

Tropical prints in the library at the American Trade Hotel in Panama City

During my recent trip to Panama City, I stayed at the newly opened American Trade Hotel, which is part of the Ace Hotel collection and it’s first Central American outpost. As soon as I entered the lobby, I felt like I had been transported to Havana during it’s heydey– but that probably had something to do with photo shoot that was happening, complete with a handsome male model rocking a Castro-esque beard.

Lounge chairs at the American Trade Hotel

Located in the historic Casco Viejo district, the American Trade Hotel feels like an Ex-Pat hangout of yore, yet only opened last year. Props to the team at Commune Design for pulling it off. 

The pool at the American Trade Hotel is small, but pretty

Since Ace properties aren’t known for having spacious rooms, I was divided my stay between two room categories: the smaller Cuarto, and then a Suite. I was surprised to find the Cuarto was spacious enough and would have been fine for my entire stay. The suite had a separate living room and very impressive bathroom, but was more space than I needed traveling solo.

I loved the vibrant mix of colors and layers of texture

The communal spaces are high on both comfort and visual impact, with an outdoor terrace, a small pool and lounge chair area, a gorgeous library, and a cool lobby. There is free wifi throughout the property.

The Living room of a suite at the American Trade Hotel

Both rooms had exceptionally high ceilings with fans, as well as all the usual creature comforts. And Ace properties always have standout bathrobes. The mini bar featured regional snacks like plantain chips and chips called Chicharrón that took me a minute to figure out were pork rinds.

Gorgeous tiled bathroom in a suite at the American Trade Hotel

The staff was friendly and helpful and the cafe con leche sublime. They were open to hearing comments (I suggested they add a way to vary the fan speed, the chain to change it was so high up I couldn’t reach it).

Left: Dual rain showers in a suite at the American Trade Hotel Right: Aesop bath amenities

My one complaint– It was noisy. Not so much the fault of the hotel or hotel design, but Panamanians like loud (and sometimes bad) music and there was a party hosted on a nearby rooftop which made sleeping a bit tricky. Both rooms had balcony access overlooking the park.

Gorgeous claw foot bath tub and tile combo

The restaurant was lovely and served excellent pulled pork, and service at breakfast and lunch was great. I thought the bar staff could have been a bit more on proactive, but overall I had a great stay at the American Trade Hotel and wouldn’t have any problem recommending it to anyone interested in checking out this charming barrio in Panama City.

Comfy King-sized bed in the bed room of the American Trade Hotel

The view from the lobby to the restaurant

Excellent pulled pork and a local beer for lunch

Left: Tropical upholstery in the hotel’s restaurant Right: I loved the colorful tile in the restaurant

Empanadas for lunch

The sleek bar felt like a modern riff on a Colonial ex-pat hangout

Panama hats ironically hail from Ecuador, but look cool poolside

American Trade Hotel

Address: Plaza Herrera, Casco Viejo, Panama
Phone:+507 211-2000
enquire@americantradehotel.com
Rates start at $249

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Sunset at Tiamo Resort on South Andros Island

Hammock at Sunset on the beach at Tiamo Resort in the Bahamas

I just returned home from spending a week in the Caribbean. While I’ve got a bunch of writing and photo editing to do, I wanted to share this time lapse I made of sunset at Tiamo Resort on South Andros in the Bahamas.

Sunset Time Lapse at Tiamo

My best friend, Zan, joined me for this trip. We spent three days at Tiamo, which is an incredibly relaxing and intimate resort. It felt like we were on a private island and provided lots of quality time for us to catch up over Pina Coladas.

Chilling with my BFF, Zan, in the Bahamas

One of the things I liked most about rustic luxury resort was chilling on the deck and watching the sunset. I hope you enjoy it too. Stay tuned for more in-depth posts about the Tiamo experience.

Shadows and sand at Sunset

 

Tiamo Resort

Driggs Hill – South Andros Island, The Bahamas

Regular Call Office Hours:

Mon-Sun 7:00am to 8:00pm EST

Phone: (1) 786 374-2442 (from USA) / (1) 242 225-6871 (from Bahamas)

Fax: (1) 242 369-2335

reservations@tiamoresorts.com

Tiamo is a member of SLH

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