I recently saw photos of a Finnish D-list celebrity who got married in an ice castle. Amazing concept and surroundings, although the rest of the wedding was a bit tacky. The original Ice Hotel was created in Sweden over 20 years ago, but nowadays one can find them also at least in Finland, Norway and Canada.
Lots of work and detailed sculpturing is put into these building which will only last a few months every year. Yet it seems that they come back each year with more elaborate ideas. I hope one day I make it to one of these unique hotels for a night or two. Cool it might be temperature-wise, but a stay to remember - especially if one gets lucky with the Northern Lights too!
Guest room in the Ice Hotel Sweden
The Chapel at Ice Hotel Sweden
Lounging at Ice Hote Sweden
Ice windows in the bedroom of Ice Hotel Sweden
Kemi Lumilinna in Finland - an ice hotel and restaurant
Suite at Kemi Lumilinna in Finland
Bar - Kemi Lumilinna Finland
Deep in the wilderness is the Sorrisniva Ice Hotel in Norway
Getting cozy in the Sorrisniva Ice Hotel in Norway
Oh so romantic in Norway Ice Hotel
Yes, our family has been on the move again and I'll tell you all about it when I finally have some more time. We headed again to the lovely Mt. Shasta region in Northern California, and everything was so lovely and fun again. We did not expect to be able to ski again, so no winter gear was packed in the car.
The drive in the air conditioned car was pleasant when the temperature outside crept all the way to 95 F (35c) and once check-in the same cool lakeside resort as last time (we loved these Groupon deals at Mt Shasta Resort with food and spa treatment credits and all...) we were off to hiking. The plan was to hike the little spring meadows - for a mile or two - as recommended by the locals in 7600 ft (2300+m), but this is what we ended up doing: running around in the snow that was several feet deep as the road was still closed and covered by snow! Some locals obvilously knew it better as they came with their skis and other snow fun equipment for the slopes in the wilderness...
So it was hot and cold and tons on fun. So unique and truly unforgettable!
Tagged with: kids, Sightseeing, California travel, Mount Shasta, summer snow, pure fun
One of my favourite magazines - the California Homes & Design have just listed their favourite 50 California hotels and some of them are just stunning! Here's my pick of the places I would like to visit based on the decor or the views...Enjoy!
Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica has this elegant green and white decor with a bit of 50s feel and a dash of Hollywood glamour
If you are looking for the views, wine tasting and spa experience, then Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley is your destination. Beautiful rooms and even a couple of private maisons on offer. But beware that you need to book early, I have tried before with short notice and never managed to get a room...
Is it surprising that a lot of luxury is found in LA region, and especially in Beverly Hills? SLS Hotel is one of those and represents more modern, yet opulent style. Wouldn't mind staying here one day either
Bardessono in Yountville represents another modern and trendy Napa region hotel with some rooms featuring own spa suites and private gardens. I love the simple, modern lines of this hotel! They also offer bike tours and other activities Bardessono is also one of the only three US LEED certified "green hotels"
H2 Hotel in Healdsburg in Sonoma wine region is a rustic and eco-chic destination. Cute, cute, cute I say!
The ever-talented miss Paris Hilton finally seems to follow the tracks of her grandfather as she is helping to design a resort in Philippines - and it certainly has some cool vibes. This room reminds me of somewhat of a mix between Balinese meet Hermes, and the fabulous setting in Philippines obviously helps too...
Conde Nast has come up with their 2012 Gold List for the best hotel rooms, and they certainly and pretty and inspiring! Once again, London and England is very well represented with both traditional and more modern rooms on this list. Here are some of my favourites - I would love to have some of these room style at home also!
Barnsley House in England
SoHo Hotel in London
Sandy Lane in Barbados
Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco
Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore
Saffire Freynicet in Australia
Crosby Street Hotel in NYC
Outoor living in North Islands in Seychelles
I just had to share this - is this hotel one of the most daring hotels ever? Perched high up in the Alps in Mont Blanc in Europe it should satisfy the extreme thrill-seekers for sure. And the views must be unbeatable too.
Mind you though that it is not easy getting up there and that this hotel only can accommodate 12 people at a time - and the wording is 12 beds, not 12 rooms, plus a living room, kitchen and a toilet - and it is all solar-powered so snow-storm might leave you a bit cold and hungry...However, the views must be breathtaking, and this area certainly is not as crowded as the European ski resorts normally are...
Tagged with: ultimate experience, mountain-top hotels, unusual European treats, Mt Blanc
I just came across the beauty (surprisinly as I have been looking for skiing destinations in the US) in Nromandy, France. This little castle called Requiecourt Castle is a XIXth century manor, surrounded by a 27 acres park land and forests- and it is a very affordable B&B also.
I think that winter might not be the best season to enjoy the colours of French countryside and the sweet smell of lavender - so this should definitely be a same-early fall destination. Oh, how beautiful would it be to enjoy freshly baked croissants and a cup of coffee in the winter garden, while enjoying the views of the estate. If ever in Normandy this will hopefully make to my list on places to stay!
Tagged with: Travel, France, Europe, Normandy, B&B, rustic hotels, Requiecourt Castle
For those who read my blog it's quite clear that I really like the quintessentially English Molton Brown; for hand and body lotions, rooms sprays - you name it! Their scents are often based on exotic combinations reflecting global travels and just smell and feel so delicious. My mantra is that an airline that stocks them, as well as hotels, must be pretty nice ones and go on top of my favourite list.
So the hotel during our recent stay in Seattle - the Woodmark by the lakeside had the Molton Brown factor. It also had the great service factor, which included a glass of bubbly when one checks in, and a free "snack buffet" around midnight in the library. What a wonderful idea that is!
I normally would be on out a lookout for a bit more trendier and modern place when it comes to style and decor, but the location was just unbeatable - and sometimes it's just nice to enjoy a more traditional feel and good service.
Who can resist a hotel that stocks Molton Brown! My favourites even - Heavenly Gingerlily. Lili-Pili was new for me and the conditioner was great!
Traditional decor of Woodmark Hotel with burned orange and moss green tones
And more Molton Brown! The deep tub cetainly called for a warm bath and tons of delicious boly lotion afterwards. This mom certainly nowadays get happy from simple little things....
Very thoughtful to have plenty of water stocked, and cute to have them custom-made for the hotel
Who wouldn't like to be greeted with a basket of local treats
This chocolate was so cute and a great present for Miss A. to learn some local landmarks and sights
Cute lakeside views made this hotel a winner, as did the great service
Tagged with: seattle, travel tips, Molton Brown, Traditional decor, hotel reviews, Washington state, Woodmark Hotel
It's time to Chill again with the fabulous ZGallerie and the chic W Hotel in Westwood, Los Angeles. For the third time W hotel transforms into a winter wonderland with the help of ZGallerie (as you know I am a huge fan of their furniture and accessories and that affordable glamour they bring). I am certainly hoping to make a trip down south - my ideal vision includes admiring the hotel (I really love their decor and am determined to find out few of their suppliers), visiting the Bliss spa, having a go in the ice rink (love the idea of skating in weather that is not -10!) and then enjoying a few drinks in the fabulous ZGalleried environment. Add these some local sightseeing, visiting some cool interior stores and I am in heaven!
This year Chill runs from November 18 to January 1, 2012 and they are also open for public, so you don't need to stay in W Hotels, although I think it would be a great experience. There are also some cute cabanas outfitted by ZGallerie, the Ice Bar serves specialty cocktails and warm food and it even snows every hour! This haven is not only for adults, as they have performances and a station for kids to decorate cookies, so it's a perfect place to relax for the whole family after a day in Disney or somewhere else where it's really busy. If you got now excited you here's your change to grab a few tickets to the event as there are a couple of competitions going on - one with a change to win a stay at the hotel too. But if you don't get lucky W hotels have a Chill special right now on offer too.
So here's a link to ZGallerie FB competition, where you can win 2 tickets to the opening night in LA in November 18th and a night in the fabulous W hotel : Enter ZGallerie Chill competition. It runs between November 7th and 14th as the opening event takes place on the 18th already. T o participate all you need to do is tell what is your favourite ZGallerie holiday product. I am still debating between these cute glass bottle stoppers and these English-styled "Keep Calm and Carry On" luggage tags for my entry!
The other way to win tickets is to check in with Foursquare in a ZGallerie LA location after November 18th. So good luck and if in LA, enjoy Chill!
This is what last year's Chill looked like - I am looking forward to seeing this year's design as I have only seen a draft by far:
Draft of the 2011 Chill event
And this is why I find the W LA Hotel so irresistible - what a lovely, relaxing and earthly decor:
images W Los Angeles hotel
Tagged with: z gallerie, Affordable Home Decor, Chic Furniture, W Hotel Los Angeles Westwood, Chill 2011-2012, fabulous skating in LA
Missoni currently has two luxury hotels - in Edinburgh, Scotland and in Kuwait - and other exotic locations are under work. Oman is scheduled to open in 2013 and the following year is time for Turkey and Brazil.
I know Missoni is now everywhere in the news right now but there is a reason for it - it's fun, so colourful and sassy! Just look at these images of the Edinburgh hotel - certainly beats the standard chains and their rather monochrome interiors!
I love that turquoise bar lounge, the atmosphere those cute stripy candles bring with the moons on the wall. I can almost hear the soothing ambient music - it feels very relaxing! And what about the room with black and white dots and hot pink - so much fun compared to taupe and moss green. I hope I get to visit one of these Missoni hotels soon!
images Hotel Missoni
The Manor of Mustio is a lovely destination if you happen to visit Finland. With wealth of history and a breathtaking location, this small and private hotel is a true haven if you are looking for a romantic place to relax. Even if you are not planning to stay there, it is a great place to stop for a coffee or a meal and enjoy the grounds of the manor - or some outdoor summer theatre or musical performances.
The gardens are very English in style and there is a lot to see, starting from art and statues (both modern and new) to natural walkways in the forest and by the lake.
The manor of Mustio dates back to 1800 when it used to have a working mill and other industry
One of the current hotel buildings
Modern art by a famous local artist
The wooden original manor building
The gardens are very English stylewise
The cafe building
A place to relax by the lake
The capel by the hill, it was rebuilt after the model of the original one that was destroyed
Walkways in the forest
Flower beds byt he picnic area
Lake views from the other side
Old workers buildings now have more accommodation and meeting facilities
Bridge over the river
Tagged with: destinations, hotels, The Manor of Mustio, romantic Finland, old castle and manors
The station of St. Pancras in London was under renovation for a long time and only recently it opened up again, and there is now a 5-star luxury hotel Marriott Renaissance. What an astonishing building this station is! I always though the Renaissance brand was more like a comfy 4-stat hotel chain, so this certainly has change my view of this Marriott brand too.
This hotel is in a great location in terms of going around London and it is just filled with old-world glamour. There are also subterranean swimming pools and a lovely spa. Worth a visit I would say!
image Renaissance St. Pancras
Tagged with: new hotels, St. Pancras Marriott Renaissance hotel, London luxury hotels
Many celebrities nowadays also own exotic private islands that they rent out or have luxury resorts in. Marlon Brando is joining that group next year when his The Brando resort will open in the French Polynesian atoll Tetiaroa.
There will be 35 villas and a spa. I bet it is going to look fantastic, as the atoll itself is just breathtaking. I am looking forward to seeing the photos once the resort is opened.
images The Brando
Tagged with: French Polynesia, Marlon Brando's hotel, The Brando, luxury resort and spa
The Chateau in Malaysia will be the first organic spa in the world when it opens in July. Located 3000ft (915m) above the sea level in the midst of rainrofest it offers environmentally friendlier and holistic for the body in an exotic location - sounds perfect to me! Spa and beauty treatment (think of a salt pool mineral pooland relaxation in Swarowski crystal decorated mineral grotto), yoga, and all those outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, golf, tennis, botanical exploring and even organic farming are on offer. Something for everyone I would say.
The surroundings look great, lush and green and so relaxing. I am thinking this palce would be a perfect stopover following a busy city touring and shopping and a cultural holiday...
images The Chateau
If you still feel like you want to live the childhood dream of living in Barbieland it is not too late - the luxurious Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris has now a suite that will fulfill your dreams. Following the success from last summer, they will have 2 Barbie rooms and a Hot Wheels room this summer for those young-at-heart visitors.
And note that this isn't just any little hotel, but a rather grand one and part of the exclusive Dorchester collection. In other rooms of the hotel you get the feel of the old-world gramour and glitter, and can enjoy hotel's horse carriage drives, dinner in your own suite with a fabulous view of the lit Eiffer tour and end freshen up in the Dior Institute Spa after a hard day of shopping, sightseeing and lunching!
images Hotel Plaza Athenee
If you are looking for a destination less travelled and magic mountain sort of accommodation, the green sustainable destination of Huilo Huilo in Chile could be it. This truly magical mountain has less than 20 rooms and suites, but there are cabanas and other accommodation in the "resort" in addition to the spa.
Imagine living inside in what looks like a mountain from the outside and a tree truck from the inside. Hikes in the mountain to the volcano, forest or the lake - or even white-water rafting at day and bathing in an ancient trunk with naturally heated water in the evening. Organised childcare and activities for the children. So much to see if you enjoy the nature!
I think I really have the travel fever for some exotic location like this, but I might need to settle for something less exotic and closer for the school holiday next week, but I hope the summer will bring one of these exotic destinations for us too.
images Huilo Huilo
Tagged with: Huilo Huilo hotel Chile, Mountain hotel, ecological tourism
It is getting warm in California, but the ocean never does so and I am really would love a spa trip in an exotic location with some lovely spa treatments... something like this Bali resort Ayana Spa.
Who can resist staying in an Ocean view villa with your own infinity pool. Private relaxation after a yoga session and a massage. Then slipping into a cute dress and heading of one of 13 restaurants in the resort. Sounds heavenly to me!
images Ayana Resort and Spa
Ever felt like renting a private villa? I love this modern one called Casa Kalika located in Punta Mita in Mexico (which can be rented through Jetsetter). And luxury is guaranteed with this five bed and bath villa, where some rooms feature additional outdoor showers and soaking tubs. Ultimate relaxation under the warm Mexican sun.
Since you also get a staff of four, including a chef to prepare your breakfast and lunches there is no worrying about a rota to keep up the house. As the rooms are very spacious, this 10000 sq ft (930m2) mansion would be ideal to go with some friends or family, as a house of this size certainly provides enough privacy for everyone. Note however, that house allows 12 guests at a time but only 2 children, which sadly already excludes a family like ours!
Alila Villas Uluwatu is a modern architectural masterpiece set in an elevated plateau next to limestone cliffs providing. It was opened in 2009 and has won numerous awards for its contemporary design by WOHA architects and its service - Alila offers both traditional hotel services and luxurious villas for sale either with cliff or hill side views.
Breathtaking views, fantastic food in traditional warung-style restaurants, morning yoga on seaside and relaxation in sanctuary spa pampers all your senses. Cultural experiences to top it all off. A perfect getaway.
images Alila Villas Uluwatu
Six Senses Laamu is brand new resort opening in April 2011 and one of the three Six Senses reports in Maldives. It is located on the privately owned Olhuveli Island in the Laamu Atoll.
The resort has about 100 nicely sized villas (both on water and on the beach) varying in between 1160- 2960 sq ft (108-275m2) designed to offer individual style. The result is an eco-friendly yet luxurious guest experience. Part of Laamu is still untouched and offers discoveries for the guests - sounds like an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate.
The resort offers spa treatments in interesting-looking pod-like treatment rooms, and there is also sauna, pools, yoga and several kinds of holistic treatments. Is there anything else one could add to the wish list other than an option for a bit of retail therapy maybe?
View of the water villas
Laamu water villa
This villa has a lovely sunken terrace
Terrace of the water villa
Unbeatable views from the water villas
Water villa bathroom
Beach villa terrace
Beach villas offer more privacy
Interior of a beach villa
The sinks in beach villas look like old suitcases
Bar over the water offers some fish spotting while relaxing
Invogorating tearoom decorated with frest yellows and oranges
Pristine white sand beaches and turquoise water
The wine cellar has some originality
Spa treatment rooms are like little beehives
images by Six Senses/Cat Winton, Jorg Sundermann and Paintlight
I know that the Missoni-designed Pellegrino is no novelty news, as the co-operation was announced last summer, but I only had recently my first encounter with the said bottle while in Sonoma Valley. I like Pellegrino and this bottle made it even more enjoyable. So Missoni with those trademark patterns. Delightful encounter.
And if you are planning a trip to Sonoma region for some wine tasking, Sonoma Lodge is worth putting on your short list - tasteful environment, wine tasting, good food and the adult-only spa (normal heated pool and spa in the garden is for kids also). It can't get much more relaxing than that. Feels very lush and somehow reminds me very much of being in Tuscany.
And once you are in the region and want to take a brake from wine tasting Safari West is a good place to do so. Their off-the-road tours are geared towards a more mature audience and you can enjoy a barbeque at the end of the two-hour tour around the estate.
Missoni + Pellegrino
The Lodge at Sonoma
images above The Lodge at Sonoma
A very Mediterranean morning mist
Enter the kingdom of Safari West and exotic beauty
You get to enjoy true off-road safari style
Even without the animals a tour around the estate would be very calming and inspiring
Tagged with: missoni san pellegrino, sonoma spas, The Lodge at Sonoma, Safari West
If you are looking for a lovely spa retreat which will pamper all your senses, it is worth looking at the offerings of the little exclusive group called Six Senses Resorts & Spas. Exotic locations such as Thailand, Vietnam, Jordan, Maldives and Oman.
Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa in Jordan is located 866 feet (264m) below the sea level and near the historic site Petra and the Dead Sea. Warm desert winds and hot springs. Relaxing spa treatments after visits to historic sites. Enjoying traditional cuisine in a Bedouin tent. This is place for those seeking isolation from cities and ultimate tranquility.
images Herbert Ypma/SIx Senses/Jetsetter
I find Richard Branson's airline Virgin one of the best in the industry when it comes to service and in-flight entertainment offerings. He always aims to provide high service in every business. Branson's small collection of luxury limited edition resorts is sure to offer the same. Many people have heard of his private Neckar Island, but he also has this private game reserve in South Africa in his portfolio.
There are three different lodges to choose from - the Rock Lodge rooms and suits, Cliff Lodge and Safari Lodge rooms and suites. You can engage there in game viewing of course, take helicopter tour to see cascades and canyons, visit surrounding villages or volunteer with their local charity.
So delectable. So luxurious. Every room so unique.
images by Virgin limited/Ulusaba
Tagged with: Richard Branson, Virgin luxury resort, private game reserve in South Africa
Chic boutique hotel Le Caméléon in Costa Rican rain forest in Limon certainly looks like worth a visit. And for once this is a boutique hotel that doesn't eat the whole budget. Sleek, modern design combined with amazing nature of green Costa Rican rain forest.
Colours and scents everywhere. This 23-room hotel is located in Costa Rica's Caribbean side meaning that there are soft, long beaches to enjoy in walking distance.
Room decor is pure white with splashed of colours from cushions and other accessories remind of flowers in the rain forest. Relaxing for the eye and mind.
images: Jesetter & Le Cameleon