Thursday, July 29, 2010

California Girls

This past spring, I took a girls trip to Santa Monica with three other lovelies. Fortunately for us, we all had the same itenerary in mind when we booked this trip: Stay somewhere hip, relax by the pool, and soak in the Santa Monica SoCal vibe for four wondrous days. Oh, did we ever! My pre-trip planning consisted of scouring the internet for A: the cheapest rate at B: the hotel with the best-looking pool. I found both on and bingo, there enters Viceroy Santa Monica. Designed by famed interior decorator to the stars, Kelly Wearstler, this joint oozed with California sophistication but in a relaxed way. When we strutted in for the first time looking like the four Sex In The City characters, the lobby was popping off (yes, I just used that phrase..). Young, stylish, jet-set people everywhere mingling with cocktails over techno music. Needless to say, we could not wait to freshen up in the room and rejoin the party..

Here are pics of the hotel:

Here's a pic of the pool from our room:

And the cabana, which we fully helped ourselves to one afternoon.

The hotel was across the street from Shutters On The Beach and within walking distance to many, many, MANY great restaurants, shops, and art galleries. I was hoping to catch a surfing lesson on this trip but the ocean was a tad bit too cold for me, even in a wetsuit. Of all the different parts of L.A. that I've visited, I've enjoyed Santa Monica the most! You just can't beat being so close to the ocean. On our bike ride, we passed underneath amazing condos with breath-taking views of the Pacific--I could imagine waking up to that everyday after hosting a sunset cocktail party.

Our girls weekend was a complete success--we lounged around the pool, rode bikes along the beach, did a lot of walking and shopping, and of course, eating, drinking, and laughing.

The final verdict: Swanky hotel for a girls weekend? CHECK.

Best of all, with a direct flight from XNA, our trip cost for airfare and hotel was less than $400 per girl for a 4-day weekend. This fits in just about anyone's budget!

Be adventurous!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Empire State of Mind

In honor of one of my close friends who's moving to New York next month, I thought I'd show you pics from one of my FAVORITE New York hotels, Crosby Street Hotel by the Firmdale hotel group based out of the UK. The Crosby just opened in October of 2009 and let me just tell you, the design and artwork they have amassed is incredible! The owners, Tim and Kit Kemp, design each of the six hotels within the Firmdale group and each have their own quirky uniqueness. What I loved about The Crosby was the English-influence Kit instilled that's easily seen in the common areas by mixing floral wallpaper with floral drapes, or by serving an English Afternoon Tea every day. Aside from the beautiful aesthetic, the hotel is located in Soho, just a few blocks from some lust-worthy stores such as Prada, Kate Spade, and Catherine Malandrino just to name a few. Which is exactly where we went after dropping off our bags! After exploring NYC, we came back and I found a handwritten note welcoming me to the hotel and a list of events happening in the city the week I was there. What a nice touch. I won't go into too much detail about my strange habit of collecting hotel toiletries, but I did manage to pilfer ALL of the soaps, shampoo, lotion, and conditioner I could find. They're too hard to resist when they come in interesting bottles and these definitely qualified!

Side note--I called that night to arrange for a wake-up call the next morning, and the kind lady asked if I'd like to have coffee brought up. For some reason, I thought this was part of their exceptional service and would be complimentary. Silly me. Well, at exactly 6:00am, my doorbell rang and there was room service in a suit not only functioning as my "wake-up call" but bringing me coffee as well. I noticed on the bill that this little service cost me $20. For coffee. Only in New York..

Here is the lobby filled with sculptures the couple has collected. Notice the antique Asian side table to the far left--we'll have these in the new store :)

And the guestroom.. Mine looked exactly like this in person!

And the marble bath. Again, it looked just like this in person!

This is a pic of just one of several themed board rooms.

And then there's this:

I love, love, LOVE the use of pattern and color in this room! The fabric on the couches have so much more contrast and shine in person--the picture doesn't do it justice.

Final verdict:

If you admire intriguing boutique hotels and have the discressionary income to do so, stay here! I will definitely be visiting again!

Until next time..