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Where to Stay in New York City: 1 Brooklyn Bridge

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A view of the Brooklyn Bridge from my Bridge View King room

I recently went to New York City for a quick trip and wanted to try staying someplace new. I’d heard good buzz about the new eco-luxury property 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, the third property from from the chic brand, 1 Hotels.

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Exterior of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

The 1 Hotels brand has the right kind of buzzwords attached to it… including a mission to be “nature led” and a core philosophy that states “The world around us is beautiful, and we want to keep it that way.” Sometimes having so many on point keywords can make a place feel “too Gwyneth” and preachy.

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The lobby cocktail area

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the vibe of the place is pretty chill. It’s only when you pay attention to the details that you discover how thoughtful they are.

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The 25 foot green wall in the lobby

Not to be shallow, but 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is a stunner. The property, which is the first ground up build from the brand, looks industrial chic and blends in perfectly with it’s DUMBO neighbors. The lobby features an impressive 25 food vertical garden and rustic yet warm eco-conscious design. But you’re not sacrificing comfort for style. All the small things work in this hotel. The upcycled wood chip room keys are clever and feel fresh. But when you discover to the repurposed pine flooring originally came from the Old Crow Distillery in Kentucky, you get the sense that 1 Hotels is the real deal. It’s chic, it’s cool… and it’s confidently laid back.

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A communal table in the lobby

Many NYC hotels have impressive lobbies and shoebox sized guest rooms. Fortunately that’s not the case at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. My Bridge View King Room was large enough to be comfortable for two people, and well-designed so that there was no wasted space. It also had a cool triple water filter so that guests can have tasty and clean water at their disposal without the clutter of plastic bottles. and the built-in dining area served double duty as a desk when it wasn’t occupied with a room service tray.

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Smart storage above the built-in dining area

The hotel also has a complimentary shuttle. It’s a Tesla that will drop guests off within a three mile radius and is available on a first-come, first served basis.

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Comfortable bed, excellent storage in the nightstand

Guest rooms are designed with comfort and usability in mind. The design packs a lot of storage punch, with enough closet space for a couple and bonus coat hooks.

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Fabulous robes at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

My stay was quick but I look forward to coming back to 1 Brooklyn Bridge to check out the hotel’s spa and 10th floor lounge, both set to open this summer. In the meantime, the cocktail service in the lobby was top-notch and included small plates from Neighbors, the minimalist chic Brooklyn-centric cafe off the lobby.

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Interior of Neighbors

Most guests might won’t notice that the property operates on 100% wind power energy or that the edgy/cool sculpture by Jarrod Beck was created from pieces of salvaged roofing found in aftermath of a tornado. But learning these details don’t make you like the property any less. They draw you in deeper. I’m curious what I’ll learn about the hotel on my next visit.

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Delicious crostini with lovely presentation in the hotel lobby

In addition to be comfortable, stylish, and well situated at Pier 1, 1 Brooklyn Bridge goes out of it’s way to be good with the ‘hood. I enjoyed getting my morning coffee at Neighbors next to locals using their neighborhood discount. The cafe’s menu had all sorts of locally sourced artisanal Brooklyn goodness one would expect. Mixing with the locals definitely added to the home-away-from-home attitude of the property, and added to the organic sensibility of the hotel.

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Cheers to 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Wifi was speedy and easy to connect. Service was great and devoid of attitude.

My biggest complaint? The property doesn’t have gift shop and the fluffy terry robes were so comfy I wanted to take one home.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Address: 60 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Phone: +1 347-696-2500

Rates from $509 per night (I paid a media rate).

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Street Photography from Pitti Fashion Week in Florence, Italy

Sharp dressed dog in Florence, Italy

Technically, I’m on “vacation” this week– tooling around Italy with my husband. But “vacation” is a tricky concept for someone who has been running a travel blog for 3 years… I’m not sure if it’s possible for me not to publish a post when I see something cool that I’d like to share. Fortunately, my husband is a workaholic and pretty tolerant when I feel the need to whip out my camera.

Even the dogs dress up during Pitti Fashion Week in Florence

I’ve been in Florence for the past few days, which happen to be part of Pitti Fashion Week. Italians are a stylish bunch– I even met a puppy who is better dressed than most and decided a photo essay of street photos wouldn’t be too intrusive on my “vacation.”

Florence’s Bapitstry is wrapped in Pucci in honor of Fashion week

Florence’s famous baptistry is currently wrapped in a Pucci print for Pitti Fashion Week. Pucci grew up in Florence and was at one point a member of the Italian parliament.

Linea Pelle Pop-up Shop for Pitti Fashion Week

Florence is famous for leather work. Italian leather goods manufacturer Linea Pelle has a pop up in the streets of Florence to show how their high end leather goods are made. It’s pretty cool.

Sticker street art in Firenze

The big news here in Florence is that as of two weeks ago, the Accademia Gallery started to allow non-flash photography in the gallery, which means now you get to see Michelangelo’s David– a true masterpiece– while darting a throng of iPad photographers taking selfies.

Old school photo booth on the streets of Florence

I’m sure David will start appearing in #selfies all over Instagram, Snapchat, and Grindr. But while Michaelangelo was a genius with perspective most selfie shooters are not. Expect amusing (and unflattering) #DavidSelfies in your social media streams.

Eurotrashy David-inspired Boxers

If you’re planning a trip to Florence, be aware that waiting times for the Accademia Gallery can be 3 hours or more. Do yourself a favor and book reserved tickets online before you come. It’s well worth it and there are much better ways to spend your time in Firenze other than waiting in line.

The David does not disappoint

Don’t miss seeing the David. I’d put it up there with the Pyramids of Giza and the Taj Mahal in terms of living up to the hype (unlike the tiny Mona Lisa).

Ciao for now.

Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze

Address: Via Bettino Ricasoli, 60, 50122 Firenze, Italy

Phone:+39 055 294883

You can book reserved tickets and schedule your visit to Accademia Gallery in Florence here.

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Behind the Scenes at the House of Krug

Champagne Tasting at the House of Krug

Be sure to check out my Obsessed: The House of Krug piece in the winter issue of Snap Magazine the #Color Issue. Snap is a digital lifestyle publication from the people behind Hipstamatic and Oggl apps.

Bottles and corksChampagne colored glassesPour from aboveKrug CourtyardKrug's signature Dark Cherry RedKrug SwagKrug ArchivesHand turning Champagne during the aging processDeep inside the Krug cellarsBarrels of sample winesHigh tech vatsLooks like something Walter White might have in Breaking BadKrug Picnic BasketKrug CorkKrug IDDeep in the Krug cellarWall of Champagne bottlesReims morning

Oggl Images from my day in Reims touring the House of Krug

It’s always difficult to pick which images to include in the edit I turn in, so I’ve included a few more of my favorite from my trip to the House of Krug here in this post for my blog readers.

You can subscribe to Snap for free in the iTunes store, but you don’t have to have an Apple device to read it. You can check it out online here.

Contributing to Snap is one of my favorite accomplishments of 2013. Combine that with a tour of my favorite Champagne house and this day was a total win. My HipStop piece on Marrakech is also featured in the #color issue and runs from pages 34-40.

 

 

 

 

 

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Monogram on the Spot at L’Aventure: The Louis Vuitton Travel Pop Up in Paris

Wall of luggage tags at the L’Aventure Travel Pop Up Shop

When I found out this week’s #FriFotos theme was the alphabet, I decided to take the opportunity to tell you about the really cool Parisian pop up shop I just visited.

If you’re going to be in Paris before the end of December, I highly recommend checking out Louis Vuitton’s travel-themed pop up shop, L’Aventure, located at 22 Avenue Montaigne. The store not only explains the history of Louis Vuitton’s brand origins as luggage makers to French aristocrats and now the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. The shop will close on December 31st, 2013.

Wall of Louis Vuitton trunks, both old and new

The shop is full of travel related eye candy as well– from Louis Vuitton City Guides to colorful luggage tags you can have monogrammed with your initials right on the spot (it’s a free service for up to three initials). There is even a beyond fabulous Louis Vuitton leather hammock that I was temped to try out while the monogram machine was warming up.

Left:  Dear Santa- can I have this leather swing? Right: The Louis Vuitton leather hammock’s chic gold clasp

Service at the shop was top notch and I thought it served as a really good introduction to the brand. City guides and luggage tags and other accessories were surprisingly affordable, making them perfect holiday gifts.

One, two or three letter monograms are free of charge at the L’Aventure Pop Up

Left: The alphabet by LVMH Right: The monogram machine warming up

Not going to Paris anytime soon? You can check out the Louis Vuitton City Guides in Digital format using the Louis Vuitton Amble app for iPhone. The app is free and the Digital City guides on Amble come in multiple languages and are available as an in-app purchases (the Paris Guide cost $9.99).

An artist hand-painting Louis Vuitton travel accessories shows the hand craftsmanship that goes into the brand

So even if a custom monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunk is beyond your budget, the Amble app and City Guides are a digital budget luxury.

Colorful Louis Vuitton City Guides in Paperback format

L’Aventure Travel Pop Up Shop by Louis Vuitton (open through the end of December 2013)

22 Avenue Montaigne, Paris

Phone +33 1 45 62 47 00

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Chinese Destination Wedding Photos in Sydney: a Photo Essay

Chinese Wedding Photos in front of the Sydney Opera House

On my recent trip to Sydney I learned it’s a thing for Chinese couples to forget the destination wedding ceremony and instead opt for at trip and destination wedding photo shoot in sunny and scenic Sydney.

My Deluxe Opera view room at the Park Hyatt Sydney had a killer view of the Sydney Opera House and seemingly never ending parade of Chinese brides and grooms in rented (or “hired”as they say Down Under ) dresses and tuxes kissing and posing in various degrees of awkward.

Hipstamatic Chinese Groom + Bride in Sydney

I spent a little time researching on the Google and found there is a whole industry dedicated to the Chinese bridal market in Sydney. This niche market has everything from rental houses who will provide Chinese brides with selection of the latest in wedding dresses and accessories (note: poufy seems to be in vogue for Chinese brides),  to a team of hair and makeup people who specialize in Asian makeup, and tux rental. 

Thoughtful Posing in front of the Sydney Opera House

Many photographers charge by the hour and will photographing Chinese wedding couples in front of all of Sydney’s postcard worthy landmarks including: The Sydney Opera House, The Harbour Bridge, The Royal Botanic Gardens, The Rocks, and Circular Quay.

This photographer was getting edgy and mixing things up by making the Chinese groom pose with the bouquet.

The bride’s dress was too long, and the “lift up your bride” situation did not end well

Brides and grooms always make me smile with their optimism and joy. It was nice to see how good wishes for newlyweds transcended language barriers as passersby wished the newlyweds well.

Adorkable Chinese Bride in Sydney (hipstamatic)

Now I’m wondering if these couples opt for a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony at home. If you know, please let me know in the comments section.

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