Hotel reviews

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Recent Hotel reviews Articles

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

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 blog. You can check out my first post here. You can read my second 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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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
Rates start at $249

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The Best Kind of Hotel California: a Stay a the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur

The Post Ranch Inn is all about indoor/outdoor living

One of the things I love most about living in California is that there are so many places I travel to within state lines– the desert, the mountains, vibrant cities and cute coastal towns are all just a few hours drive away. The spot I find most beautiful and special is Big Sur, California.

The view from the living area of my Pacific Suite at the Post Ranch Inn

Located on a curvy and stunning section of the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur is part California is part hippie strong hold and part high end dream destination. I recently spent a night at the Post Ranch Inn, and remain convinced it’s my favorite hotel in all of California, because in so many ways it represents what I love most about the Golden State.

The steel hot tub is kept at 104 degrees

The Post Ranch Inn was designed by architect Mickey Muennig, who studied and embraced the concepts of organic architecture and limiting the impact on the environment. The result is stunning. The Post Ranch Inn’s 39 rooms are hardly “rooms.” They are collection of unique structures– tree houses and curvy buildings that cling to the Pacific Coast. The result is serene and high end zen.

Magic Hour light in the bathroom of my Pacific Suite

The result is all about enjoying the surrounding environment, be it the majestic Redwoods on the property or the stunning coast below. Cell signals are dicey in Big Sur and that’s half the charm. There are no televisions in the rooms at the Post Ranch Inn and you really don’t miss them.

The chocolate chip cookies in the included minibar might ruin your appetite for dinner

Each suite has an easy to work fireplace and some sort of outdoor patio. There is really no reason to leave your wifi equipped room– unless you want to. The property is fun to explore with all sorts of special hidden hang out spots, including benches and even a Spirit Nest (a human-sized birds nest) if you want to chill out in nature.

Left: the hot tub on the balcony of the Pacific Suite is kept at 104 degrees Right: the fireplace makes the suite super cozy

There are two heated infinity pools on the property– one lined with jade (which I’m told has “healing qualities”) as well as a heated lap pool. There is also fitness center and complementary yoga and meditation classes in a yurt. There is a full spa menu and treatments are offered in the spa facilities or in your suite.

I loved how the desk was so organic to the room

The Post Ranch Inn does not allow pets or guests under the age of 18, making it an ideal choice for a romantic couples getaway. They offer wedding, elopement  and celebration packages should you wish to take your relationship to the next level in inspired and spectacular surroundings. Honeymoon packages are also available.

The Pinot Noir welcome amenity was nice to enjoy in the stainless steel hot tub

The Post Ranch Inn was one of the first pioneers in the green movement. You drive past solar panels on your drive up to reception (in the summer, solar panels provide 100% of the resort’s power– and they contribute back to the grid.) Once on the property, a fleet of Hybrid Lexus vehicles are available to chauffeur you around.

Left: the guard gate at the Post Ranch Inn Right: the curvy and awesome exterior of Mountain House

While all this luxury doesn’t come cheap (room rates start at $675) the service is top notch and the resort does not nickel and dime you. The minibar could feed a family of four and is included in the room rates, as is an impressive breakfast spread in Sierra Mar Restaurant (which I’ll cover in depth in a future post).

Left: Lounge chairs on the deck of a Tree House Right: the deck of a Mountain House

Nature walks, yoga in a yurt, and meditation classes are also complementary for guests.

The exterior of Sierra Mar restaurant

Be advised: if you want to stay at the Post Ranch Inn, book early! The intimate scale of the property means it books up way in advance, especially during weekends.

Left: Solar panels provide the property’s energy  Right: funky fountain on the grounds of the Post Ranch Inn

The Post Ranch Inn epitomizes everything I adore about California– the rugged beauty of the Pacific Coast, the responsible green philosophy, the unpretentious luxury, and the high end hippy vibe.

The view from the Spirit Nest overlooks the pond (which is more scenic when California isn’t in a drought)

For all of these reasons, and the stunning location, the Post Ranch Inn is my favorite hotel in California. If you’re a bucket list type, this is a property worth adding. A two to three night stay is all you need, but one night is not really enough to truly savor all the Post Ranch Inn has to offer and to fully relax.

With only 39 rooms, reservations at the Post Ranch Inn are essential. No guests under the age of 18 or pets are allowed. Tip: stay here with someone special who you can chill with. This is a very special and memorable place.

Post Ranch Inn

Address: 47900 State Highway 1,
Big Sur, CA 93920, United States
Phone:+1 831-667-2200

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A Stay at Le Relais Christine on the Left Bank of Paris

Blue Skies over Relais Christine

On my recent trip to Paris, I split my time between the Saint James Paris and Relais Christine, and for me it was a winning combination. But it’s Relais Christine that felt most like home. It’s an ideal spot for a weekend in Paris.

The left bank chic lobby at Relais Christine

Located in a converted mansion on a quiet street in the 6th arrondissement,  Relais Christine is the heart of all the action in  St-Germain-des-Pres (my Parisian neighborhood of choice).

Seating areas in the common areas at Relais Christine

The hotel is small, chic and charming, with only 51 rooms and suites, each of them a bit different. The property has the same owners as the Saint James Paris, so this intimate left bank property has the same relaxed yet refined service standards.

I loved the slanted roof  of my junior suite at Relais Christine

I stayed in a lovely junior suite with étoile fabric on the walls. I liked the separation of space between the bedroom and living area and non-cookie cutter vibe. When I toured the property and saw other rooms, some were more modern in design. All had been outfitted with modern bathrooms, although the styles varied from room to room. I found the variety appealing.

The welcome amenity was this lovely fruit bowl

There isn’t a traditional hotel bar at Relais Christine, but it’s not really required because of the hotel’s location– there are so many bars and restaurants a few steps away.  The common area featured strong wifi, and an Honor Bar where guests can help themselves to a tipple or glass of wine.

The bedroom of my junior suite at Relais Christine

The bedroom was both cozy and chic, with ample closet space. I felt like I was living in a real Parisian apartment, only with a great concierge to help me make dinner reservations.

Left: Argan bath amenities Right: the cozy but modern bathroom in my junior suite

My bathroom wasn’t large, but it had dual sinks and a great showerhead.

The suites at Relais Christine would work well for a family

All my Paris faves were within walking distance from Relais Chrisine. There’s a Mariage Frères tea salon literally around the corner and a Ladurée a few blocks away on Rue Bonaparte. I walked to both Notre Dame and Musée d’Orsay after enjoying breakfast at the hotel.

Left: peeking into a few different rooms Right: some bathrooms have more modern styling

A whimsical room with a pop of color at Relais Christine

Relais Christine has suites that would work for families and couples, but also had great non-suite rooms that would work for solo travelers.

Left: a modern bathroom at Relais Christine Right: dual sinks in a junior suite

It may be intimate, but Relais Christine has everything you need, including a very nicely equipped gym and spa in the basement.

Work off those carbs in the Relais Christine gym

The breakfast spread (included in the room rate) was lovely, and had made to order hot items as well as a variety of meats, cheeses, and gorgeous pastries.

Breakfast at Relais Christine

Breakfast at Relais Christine is served in this cozy and atmospheric cellar

the breakfast buffet at Relais Christine

There will be carbs, this is Paris!

I didn’t try the apple tarte tatin, but it sure looked delicious

All guests are welcome to use the Relais Christine loaner bikes, which is nice. A few of the suites had patios with courtyard gardens, which would be really nice if you’re staying more than a few days.

A night view of one of the garden suites at Relais Christine

Relais Christine is a gem of luxury hotel on the left bank.

Blue Skies above St. Germain at Relais Christine

Room rates at Relais Christine start at $459

Relais Christine

3, rue Christine – 75006 Paris
Phone: +33 (0)1 40 51 60 80
Fax: +33 (0)1 40 51 60 81



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