Posts Tagged ‘luxury accommodations’

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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California Pet Friendly Road Trip: A Night at San Ysidro Ranch- An American Luxury Classic

San Ysidro Ranch

Meanwhile, back at the San Ysidro Ranch… the reception area is in this bougainvillla covered cottage.

On my recent California Pet Friendly Road trip, Scarlet felt most at home the night we spent at the The San Ysidro Ranch. The SYR is extremely familiar with 1% pets, they even have a separate pet register to sign upon check in, and nice details like a dog bowl filled with water in the reception cottage.

The San Ysidro Ranch is perhaps a bit lesser known than the nearby ocean front Four Seasons Biltmore, it’s location is no less desirable. The Ranch is on a piece of property in the foothills of the Santa Barbara mountains, with 17 miles of hiking trails accessible by foot right at the edge of the property, making it perfect for dogs and their humans.

The San Ysidro Ranch takes their furry guests seriously. Behold: a pet register at the reception desk.

Located just outside of Santa Barbara in the bucolic enclave of Montecito, Ty Warner’s San Ysidro Ranch has long been a favorite of among the most discerning travelers. It winds up on list after list of top hotels in the world, it would actually be boring to name which lists. But the Ty Warner portfolio is a best of the best list that also counts the Four Seasons New York and Cabo’s Las Ventanas among it’s properties, as well as the Four Seasons Biltmore).

It’s here at the San Ysidro Ranch that President John F Kennedy honeymooned with his lovely young bride, Jackie Bouvier Kennedy. If you’re too young to find JFK significant, Coldplay’s Chris Martin also spent his wedding night here after eloping with Gwyneth. Rock stars and presidents all keep coming back to the property year after year for good reason… it’s an enduring luxury classic.

San Ysidro Registration Sign

The gorgeous gardens and the Santa Barbara mountains behind the San Ysidro Ranch

San Ysidro Ranch

The gorgeous Santa Barbara Mountains behind the wedding lawn at the San Ysidro Ranch.

San Ysidro Plants

Flora and fauna at the San Ysidro Ranch

San Ysidro Ranch

The San Ysdiro’s Stonehouse Restaurant

San Ysidro RanchPlow and Angel

If you prefer more casual dining options, the Plow & Angel in the basement of the Stonehouse is a laid back rathskeller.

The Door

The details at the San Ysidro Ranch are all thoughtful, like this soft, non clinking Do Not Disturb pillow.

The San Ysidro Ranch, unlike so many properties that are resting on past laurels, consistently stays on top of the game by keeping the property above and beyond 5 star standards. You don’t realize how well service can be done until you spend a night here. I even slept in late, the bed was so comfortable.

And while The San Ysidro Ranch appeals to the below-the-radar jetset, it’s charm is obvious. The property has curb appeal to dogs (and their human owners). There are 17 miles of hiking trails right on the ranch property, and the room service menu has special items just for pets. Plus, rather than being relegated to to fringe room that has yet-to-be-refurbished, showing up with a dog (or two) in tow is celebrated at the Ranch. Scarlet even had a welcome sign hanging outside the Lotus bungalow to greet her upon check in.

Welcome Sign

A welcome sign for Scarlet outside the Lotus bungalow

The Lotus cottage is one of the French Lavender cottages on the property, which average around 1,150 Sq. Ft and come complete with Bulgari amenities and indoor/outdoor showers and a hot tub.

Scarlet on her best behavior does a property inspection and checks out the Lotus bungalow… and approves.

The swoonworthy bathroom in Lotus cottage had a modern day claw foot tub, Bvlgari amenities, an enormous glass shower, and extremely comfy and soft sage green robes, as well as dual sinks. We didn’t even turn on the 42″ plasma television.

The reception cottage at the San Ysidro Ranch

Charming Flowers

The swoonworthy bathroom was cozy and modern at once.

The claw foot Bathtub

The claw foot Bathtub

It’s nice to stay at a hotel where the mini-bar (except for alcohol) is included. It’s an appreciated touch when there are fresh baked dog biscuits for your pet. Our welcome packet at the San Ysidro ranch had an interesting edit of goodies. Keeping with tradition, there was custom stationary with my name printed on it announcing I was in residence at Lotus Cottage. There was also brochure with Ten Activities for Pampered Pets, which had been approved by members of the veterinary field, with listings for pet massage ($75 for a thirty minutes, which is a reasonable rate for such a service) as well as pet-friendly beaches and a local groomer and doggy day care.

The local health code prevents pets from joining their humans in the hotel restaurant, room service at the San Ysidro Ranch is fantastic. Just dial up room service and another round of delicious margaritas will appear, and it’s a little known secret the San Ysidro Ranch has the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever eaten on the planet, and I’ve sampled more than a few.

If you don’t have a chance to stay at the ranch, by all means treat yourself to a meal at the Stonehouse restaurant, which will be the subject of the next post in this series.

Macarons were a welcome amenity

Macarons were a welcome amenity.

The canopied king bed in Lotus cottage, a framed set of prints were some of decorating details I love about the ranch.

Ceramic Rabbit

The inspired decor of the Lotus Cottage featured hit ceramic bunny on the mantle.

Scarlet made herself right at home on the bed, and enjoyed the special dog bed, dog treats, and pet bowls provided at the San Ysidro Ranch.

Scarlet wanted to keep the huge, walk-in glass shower. I probably wanted to keep it a little too.

The Lotus Cottage had a lovely outdoor patio, will lounge chairs and a hot tub. We left the cover on the hot tub, as Scarlet is a big fan of them and at the SYR, pets aren’t allowed in the hot tub.

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Prague’s Buddha-Bar Hotel Review

Prague is a city that now has a number of hotel options in the luxury sector.  But when I found out the city had a Buddha-Bar Hotel, a boutique property located close to Old Town Square, I knew I had to check it out.

Prague’s Buddha-Bar Hotel is the restaurant/club/chill music brand’s effort to redefine an “Urban Resort” and I thought it might be a fun place to stay. I knew at the very least, the Buddha Bar music would be cool.

Buddha Bar elevator

Buddha Bar elevator

The boutique property is small, with only 36 rooms and 3 suites, all gorgeously designed in an Asian theme with scarlet red being the dominant color.  Breakfast was included in my room rate and was served in the Siddhartha Café downstairs (I’ll go more into the dining options in a future post).

Buddha Bar hallway

Buddha Bar hallway

The staff was small but helpful and the rooms incredibly glamorous if not the most practical. I was in room 12,  (I was upgraded to a Premier category) room and the glamorous bedroom and gorgeous and spacious bathroom were indeed incredible. The Bed is the prominent feature in the bedroom, so there isn’t really a place to chillax in your room if you’re not comfortable hanging out on the bed.

Buddha Bar hotel room 12 bedroom

Buddha Bar hotel room 12 bedroom

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Sheraton TriBeCa Review

Panorama from Sheraton TriBeCa

Panorama from Sheraton TriBeCa

During my last trip to New York City, I stayed at 3 different downtown hotels. This was my second stay at The Sheraton TriBeCa and here are some of my thoughts on the property.

Located on the south side of Canal Street in New York City, the hotel is relatively new construction and feels pretty standard for the brand in the sense that it lacks charm. But it’s a serviceable home base at a reasonable price point for a downtown Manhattan hotel.

It’s a good value for money and an excellent location, with some rooms and a balcony off the Club Lounge that features stunning views of the city and the Empire State building.

The view from Sheraton TriBeCaThe view from Sheraton TriBeCaView from my room at the SheratonThe view from Sheraton TriBeCa

The view from the club lounge at the Sheraton TriBeCa

While the building and décor lack charm and don’t reflect the Big Apple in any way, the property is pretty standard for the Sheraton brand and pretty comfortable. What is does have is televisions in the bar and in the Club Lounge where you can watch sports. The cheese and crackers spread during the Happy Hour at the Club Lounge was particularly lame, but I was grateful I could catch the score of the Lakers game and watch the sun set on the outside patio, which has extraordinary views.

 The view from the club lounge at the Sheraton TriBeCa

The view from the club lounge at the Sheraton TriBeCa

The room size was decent, which is generous by New York standards. Wifi was easy to use and worked properly.

Sheraton TriBeCa badroom

Sheraton TriBeCa bedroom

The bathroom was small and the water pressure a bit on the weak side, but this is fairly common in New York . The bathroom amenities were a bit lacking- no robe, shower cap or Q-Tips. (As a side note, I find it particularly irksome when hotels omit shower caps, especially when they claim “we have them, but you have to call down to housekeeping.” By the time I discover that there is no shower cap I’m already undressed and headed to the shower. The last thing I want to do is stop the process and wait for housekeeping.)

There is a Starbucks located inside the property and ample seating in the lobby. The reception and concierge all were busy every time I was in the lobby. Since I didn’t use the concierge I can’t property review the service, but think that if you are looking to lean on the hotel concierge to be your tour guide, this isn’t the hotel for you.

My biggest complaint with the hotel has to do with when the doormen. This is my second stay here and the second time the doorman has up sold me to a car service (when I requested a taxi) to the airport and failed to mention the surcharge for using a credit card. I tweeted @StarwoodBuzz and they looked into the matter, which is one thing I truly appreciated about the Sheraton brand (and SPG in general). They understand social media and customer service (check out Paul Thompson’s excellent social media customer service case study From Agony to Ecstasy in 30 Minutes or Less).

Overall, this Tribeca Hotel property is a great value for money and what it lacks in charm and local color it makes up for with its reasonable price point and location.

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Mondrian SoHo Review

Stallin the City Mondrian Soho

Bathroom of room 2409 at the Mondrian Soho NYC

When I visit New York, I prefer to stay downtown. I spent my NYU years living between Greenwich Village and Union Square and while I’ve stayed uptown before, the truth is I’m definitely a lot more comfortable downtown, even with my upscale taste. Fortunately there is no shortage of downtown Manhattan accomodations these days and I checked out three different options on my most recent trip to New York.

First up, The Mondrian SoHo.

After having such a great experience with the Morgan’s Hotel Group in Miami at their Shore Club property, I was really excited to check out their newest hotel in Manhattan, The Mondian SoHo.

The arbor like enterance to the Mondran SohoThe exterior Greenspace opposite check in. Felt out of a fairy taleRebecca exiting the Mondian Soho. Mobile photographyThe lovely European inspired garden at Mondrian SOHO. Felt like it was out of a fairy tale. (iPhoneography)

The lovely European inspired garden at Mondrian SOHO. Felt like it was out of a fairy tale. The decor was inspired by French director Jean Cocteau’s  1946 film La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast)

From time I arrived at the hotel to laying my eyes on room 2409, I was impressed by the design which embraced both European charm and modern whimsical touches like furry lamps in the lobby. I even got Rebecca to re-enact the Touch The Furry Wall scene from Get Him to the Greek.

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