"Santa Monica Proper introduces a looser kind of luxury to Santa Monica. Here, along sun-drenched Wilshire Boulevard, within walking distance to the beach, each of the 271 rooms, suites and spaces successfully optimize the city’s abundant ocean breezes and natural light, while the interior design finds inspiration in the organic tones and textures of the local coastline. Santa Monica Proper beckons guests with the only rooftop pool deck on the Westside, a one-of-a-kind setting that includes a Balearic restaurant, bar, and cabanas, where guests are front-row for sunsets over the Pacific; meanwhile, the landmark restaurant, Onda, marks an iconic collaboration between James Beard award-winning chefs Jessica Koslow and Gabriela Cámara." Read more about the incredible details of Santa Monica Proper on their website (and check out more photos below!
Staying in a French chateau such as the elegant and historic Château de Marçay is a once in a lifetime experience. With history as a fortress dating back to the eleventh century, the chateau is filled with stone-hewn spiraling staircases and circular rooms built into its fortified walls. But the individually decorated and themed rooms boast inviting furnishings, marshmallow-soft beds, and plush robes. We had a delightful stay at the chateau, enjoying a memorable dinner and a delightful morning at the chateau before continuing on to Paris.
Chateau Fleur de Roques is a beautiful 16th century chateau in the heart of French wine country in Saint-Émilion, France. We stayed there on a recent extended road trip through Germany and France, and were shown wonderful hospitality from their staff and inspiration from the surrounding countryside. With so many beautiful stone details, winding passageways, and comfy corners built for sitting and reading, we almost didn’t want to leave (but we eventually had to keep exploring wine country).
Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
THE DWARIKA’S HOTEL | KATHMANDU, NEPAL | APRIL 22-23, 2019
The Dwarika’s Hotel is a 5-star destination resort in Kathmandu, Nepal. Walk around the Old Baneshwor neighborhood and you would never know such an oasis of culture and beauty exists, but one step inside the sculpted brick walls and you are transported away from the noise and pollution of the streets into a secret garden of tranquility.
The hotel, conceived and founded by Dwarika Das Shrestha in the early 1950s, fulfills a profound dual-purpose: to preserve and celebrate Nepal’s rich cultural and architectural heritage through the vehicle of a world-class hotel experience. In this way, the hotel is a living museum. Each architectural detail is a work of art.
Lemongrass and flowering wisteria waft on the breeze. Babbling fountains attract sparrows and doves that flap heavenward to roost in the tiled rooftops. Whole flowers float in water-filled cisterns and vines clamber up palm trees. The hotel is constructed around a central pool that is reminiscent of 12th century Malla Dynasty baths, and several buildings arranged around interconnecting courtyards evoke a palatial feel. One might get lost exploring the narrow alleyways and vine-shaded brick pathways and discovering new delights around every corner. Shrines dot the property, bedecked in smoking incense and colorful red and yellow ritual powders. The secret oasis feeling is enhanced by countless private nooks where one might while away the afternoon hours with a cappuccino and a travel companion. And when the afternoon thunderstorm arrives to clear the air and refresh the many flowering vines, the covered veranda and indoor fireplaces offer cozy and dry places to curl up with a book and cashmere blanket.
Each luxuriously heeled suite includes such amenities that might make your stay more comfortable: a lounge area, soaking tub, coffee and tea bar, desk (complete with pressed paper house stationery for dropping a note in the mail), two sinks, a basket bursting with every necessity a weary traveller might need or have forgotten (toothbrushes, razors, lotions, soaps, slippers, bathrobes, bottled water, and the like), and of course a dreamy four-poster bed bursting with pillows.
The staff offer world class, personalized hospitality at a moment’s notice. With room service, pool-side delivery, a cozy bar and fine dining options, the hungry guest can certainly find anything to satisfy their hunger. True to the resort tradition, The Dwarika’s Hotel offers a sumptuous breakfast buffet feast.
The highlight, for me, was the daily 7am yoga practice, offered by the house yoga teacher and Sanskrit master. Situated in a sunny glassed-in studio on the roof, the traditional postural practice was energizing, aligning, and educational to this Western yogi.
After yoga, then breakfast, we spent most of the morning intermittently splashing in the pool then drying off in the sun before checking out and continuing our journey westward via the Kathmandu airport (a 5-minute taxi ride away).
I live in Malibu, Calif.,