Luxury is about culturally rich and unique experiences, so here are my personal Top 5 Bucket List Travel Experiences for 2014!
Opera at Arena di Verona, Verona, Italy
Located in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy, this Roman amphitheatre was built in 30 AD and is now home to some of the most spectacular opera performances in the world. Picture yourself listening to Carmen in this beautiful setting on a warm summer’s night. I certainly can!
Romantic Dinner at The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah: Ubud, Bali
This is one of the most private of resorts with 20 suites and villas set within thriving rice fields as far as the eye can see. Wouldn’t you love to have a romantic dinner for two in this spectacular setting? This is what I call dinner with a view!
An Evening of Jazz at The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China
My Grandfather, Victor Won Cumyow, was a jazz singer at the Cathay Hotel in the 1930′s (now the Fairmont Peace Hotel.) I dream to spend an evening listening to smooth jazz in this iconic setting. I’m told my Grandfather was considered the Chinese Bing Crosby in his day.
Breakfast with Giraffes at Giraffe Manor, Kenya, Nairobi
Can you imagine what it must be like to have a giraffes join you for breakfast? At Giraffe Manor, built in the 1930′s and set on 12 private acres, you can experience just that. This beautiful lodge is home to several endangered Rothschild Giraffes and is one of Nairobi’s most iconic boutique hotels.
Sleeping in a Palace at Palais Namaskar, Marrakech, Morocco
Set between Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and Djebilet Hills, Palais Namaskar is a gorgeous luxury Oetker Collection hotel with only 41 luxury rooms, suites, villas and even palaces! Wouldn’t you just love to tell someone you just stayed in a palace in Marrakech? I know I would!
“It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.” ~Bern Williams
It has been the most incredible year traveling the world, seeing new places, meeting new friends, and experiencing exciting things. I never forget to be grateful for my health and the ability to travel.
Wishing you all the very best in 2014. Don’t forget to dream BIG because dreams do come true!
Having just flown in from Phuket and Bangkok to Paris for the night, I headed straight for one of my favorite new luxury boutique hotels in Paris, the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal. The hotel opened this past summer and is just steps from the Louvre Museum, the Comédie Française theater, rue Saint-Honoré, and the Tuileries Gardens. The hotel is designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon and has 68 rooms (including 11 suites), restaurant, bar and Carita spa.
To my surprise, I was given the honor of being the very first guest to stay in the luxurious and zen-like “Suite Panoramique”, a spacious Penthouse suite with a beautiful 25m2 / 270 sq feet terrace overlooking Paris with beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and the Palais Royal and its garden. The suite has calm, white interiors and is located on the 7th and top floor of the hotel with access by private elevator. Room highlights include: watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle at night from the suite terrace, Nespress coffee maker, Carita Paris bath amenities, and private elevator. Take a step inside!
A last minute change from a weekend trip in the Swiss Alps took me from Zurich to beautiful Geneva to see a particular hotel suite that travel guru Mary Gostelow had been raving about. Little did I know I’d be front and center in the midst of international news. As my taxi pulled up to the InterContinental Geneva, I arrived to a barricade of press and police blocking the front door. I had seen this before when celebs are staying at hotels, but this was Geneva — World political leaders are the celebrities in town.
I made my way to the back of the press line and ask a foreign reporter what was going on. He told me that United States Secretary of State John Kerry would be arriving any minute for last minute Iranian peace talks. As a resident of Massachusetts and former neighbor of former Senator Kerry, I couldn’t believe my good timing. I was a registered guest checking into the hotel, so I was able to make my way past the barricade and was warmly greeted by the General Manager, Jurgen Baumhoff who let me know that the world’s most important finance ministers were all about to convene on the hotel.
As I checked into my room, I accidentally dropped my scarf and a nice man walking by with an entourage pointed to the floor to let me know. Was that really Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General? I was officially star-struck!
Within minutes, Secretary of State John Kerry was gliding through the hotel with his entourage and a friend later told me she saw me in the background of French TV5 Monde in the lobby watching as an insider as history was unfolding. Then there was news that the French, German, Russian and Chinese finance ministers would be arriving for the talks all checking into the hotel. The hotel was buzzing again and security was on alert. I was eagerly updating my friends on Facebook.
The highlight of the next day was meeting NBC news correspondent, Ann Curry who so graciously spent a few minutes talking to me about how she was using social media to report updates from the talks. As a journalism graduate for both my undergraduate and master’s degrees, it was no doubt a thrill. I was so proud to be an American.But our meeting was brief as the sirens went off again, and everybody scurried. The Russians were coming. Everybody stand by!
When I travel, looking stylish with utmost ease is very important to me which is why I’m a huge fan of New York jewelry designer Margo Morrison. I was thrilled to meet her today at one of my favorite boutiques outside of Boston called Trove, where the owner Dale first introduced me to Margo’s line of personally designed necklaces and earrings. I have been a fan of hers ever since.
Margo’s designs are made of faceted semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls knotted on beige nylon and finished with silver toggles cast from twigs and berries. When you wear the necklaces, the stones appear to float on your skin. The pieces are effortless, easy to travel with and nice to wear as a single strand or stacked. They are perfect with a tee shirt or even a little black dress.
Blake Lively, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow are all fans of her edgy chic designs. You’ll find Margo Morrison jewelry in luxury hotels and resorts, too. I recently saw her eye-catching necklaces at Sandy Lane Resort’s Gatsby boutique in Barbados and the shop at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. You can buy online or at these stylish retailers.
Want to make a difference when traveling? I’m headed to Mexico this week, and proud to participate in Pack for a Purpose, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping travelers make an impact when traveling. Hotels such as Fairmont Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya partner with local organizations such as Playa Animal Rescue which helps rescue and rehabilitate injured and abandoned dogs, ultimately finding them permanent loving homes. Guests can bring donated supplies from a list available to the resort for donation to the charity.
Hotels all around the world participate from Mexico to the Caribbean to Africa. Just find your destination and see how you can contribute.
As you may know, I’m a huge animal lover and support animal rescue organizations, so rather than packing that extra pair of shoes, I’m filling that space with dog collars and chew toys for Playa Animal Rescue, ready to make a little bit of difference in the lives of these animals.
Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact.
Pack for a Purpose has received a determination from the Internal Revenue Service that it qualifies as a charitable organization under code section 501(c)(3). All contributions to Pack for A Purpose are fully deductible. For a copy of their application for nonprofit status, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fashionistas who love to travel rejoice! The Lowell Hotel, one of my favorite upper east side boutique hotels located steps from Madison Ave. boutiques in New York City, will be opening a Pop-Up Café in celebration of New York Fashion Week.
On September 5th, 2013, don your fall fashion best for one night of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres starting at 6:00 pm. This will be the place to be seen! For more info: +1-212-605-6968
Want to know where you can dip your toes into crystal clear turquoise water and powder white sand? Read my feature in this month’s International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) TheInsider magazine on Parrot Cay by COMO in beautiful Turks and Caicos. Click here
Ristorante Aroma, magnificently set on the terrace of Palazzo Manfredi in Rome, is sensory experience in every respect. Highly recommended is the MENU DEGUSTAZIONE (Tasting Menu) by star Chef Giuseppe Di Iorio — Your taste buds will thank you for dishes such as “Filini” pasta with pork and wild fennel and Lightly cooked veal “Magatello” with baby lettuces and a duo of bignè and green apple filled cannolo.
The view of the Colosseum from the terrace is one of the most spectacular in the world, and no doubt a popular location for many engagements. It’s a postcard perfect Italian experience. Buon appetito!
I suppose it didn’t hurt that Le Chateaubriand came as a recommendation by friend and celeb chef Ming Tsai, and that we were able reserve a table with one phone call by my friend who is the Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in Boston – after all, getting a table at one of most popular French bistro’s in Paris is no easy feat. Just one reserved seating is available per night for this lauded French nouvelle cuisine, and you might be waiting for months. Otherwise, try your luck and walk in after 21:30.
The menu is traditional yet buzzy, and the menu changes nightly. No frills and no fancy décor, it has been named one of the best restaurants in the world by many culinary guides; Zagat says it’s one of the most inventive tables in Paris and “arrive with patience and a little attitude of your own.” Dinner was creative and savory, but I drew the line at raw veal. Fortunately it was not the piece de resistance. The razor clams were tender and notable. Tasting menu: €60.
Le Chateaubriand: 129, Avenue de Parmenter, 75001 Paris; Tel: +33 1 43 57 45 95
I was fortunate to have this gorgeous view flying out of Paris the other day! Can you spot the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe at Place de l’Étoile at the top of the Champs-Élysées and other famous Parisian landmarks? Take a closer look. Paris, je t’aime!
Via dei Condotti is one of the most fashionable streets in Rome and has the greatest number of Rome-based Italian fashion retailers, equivalent to Milan’s Via Montenapoleone, Florence’s Via de’ Tornabuoni, London’s Bond Street, or Paris’ Rue du Faubourg. Here are a few of my favorite luxury designer gifts to bring home that special “uomo” in your life.
1.) Ferragamo Adjustable Belt in Mini-grain Calfskin Belt
2.) BOTTEGA VENETA Nero Intrecciato Nappa Bracelet
3.) Ferragamo Gancio Print Scarf
4.) Prada Credit Card Holder
5.) Ferragamo Acqua Essenziale Fragrance
It’s the first day of summer, so here are a few of my favorite things:
- Kerstin Florian Sun Protection SPF 30 – Glamorous as a tan may be, nothing feels more dreadful than an unfortunate sunburn after hours under the glaring Mexican or Caribbean sun. This product has UVA/UVB maximum protection with chamomile and cucumber extracts to calm and soothe the skin.
- Melissa Odabash Bikini – How can you not feel sexy this summer when her playful styles and ultra-sleek designs are each named after exotic locales such as Monaco and Portofino? Stop into her Notting Hill shop in London for the perfect fit.
- Bric’s Milano Limited Editon Missoni Tote Bag – Made with PVC material and leather accents, this zip-top bag is very durable and goes with everything. I found mine at Missoni on the Amalfi Coast.
- Inverni Firenze 1892 Fedora – I discovered my favorite beach hat at Emporio Le Sirenuse in Positano. Made in Italy, it’s perfectly trendy for the beach and exudes coolness and style.
- Tory Burch Flip Flops – Just when I thought I would never stray from my Havianas, I saw these Tory Burch Thora snake print leather flip flops in pewter at Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados. They are perfectly neutral and will go great with your favorite maxi dress or beach cover-up.
“Hi my name is Tiffany, and I’m a luxury bath amenity-aholic.”
I hoard luxury hotel bath amenities. Clarins. Acqua di Parma. L’Occitane. I have them all. And just when I convince myself that I won’t bring home anymore, there comes Salvatore Ferragamo’s Tuscan Soul to sweep me off my feet. I have no cupboard space. Each shelf is consumed with tiny little bottles of luxury soaps, lotions and shampoos, it’s no wonder why I don’t have any room. I save them. My senseless reason: they are just too special to use.
At one point, I thought I was getting better. A few years ago I gave a bin full of amenities to a local women’s shelter. While others showed up with Marriott and Ramada, I was donating bags full of Kiehls, Molton Brown and Bulgari Green Tea from the finest luxury hotels in the world. Then, I recently stayed at a lovely little Relais & Chateaux hotel in Florence, Italy. They kindly gifted me with a bag full of lovely samples of their signature Rose Splendide by Annick Goutal, Paris, and I simply could not refuse. I quickly fell off the luxury bath amenity wagon.
I do know that admitting my problem is the first step in getting better, which is why I share this with you today. But until my next luxury hotel stay (which is never too far away), I guess I will just have to take it one scented soap at a time.
It’s early morning in Saint Lucia, and I’m hearing the sounds of water falling, the birds chirping and the distant hum of fishing boats driving by. The reflections of the Pitons in my infinity pool is breathtaking as a cloud hovers over the Gros Piton waiting to burn off in the morning sun. A cool breeze softly blows through my Jade Mountain Sanctuary, and there is serenity. I have no television. No radio. No internet. I feel distant from the world, yet having a moment of gratitude and reflection.
In the aftermath of a senseless tragedy like yesterday in Boston, I am taking a moment to breathe, remember what is important in my life, and try to think positively about the good, not the bad, in mankind. I am grateful in many ways that I was traveling and not at the Boston Marathon events where I would have been which were right near the explosions. Hearing reports from friends who had to run for safety and assist others makes my heart weigh heavy.
I was fortunate to spend last night surrounded by the wonderful Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy, the owners of Jade Mountain, and not be alone, yet inside my heart continues to weep for those affected by yesterday’s events. I am deeply grateful for all of the wonderful messages by my friends and family around the world who kept me updated through social media sites. I have been traveling inspecting 15 hotels on five islands in 12 days, and I really and truly cannot wait to get home to Boston.
Today would have been my Chinese Grandfather, Victor Vancouver’s 105th birthday. Grandpa was a crooner; a celebrated jazz singer in Shanghai back in the 30’s performing at the glamorous Cathay Hotel (now Fairmont Peace Hotel). When the Japanese invaded Shanghai, he returned to Vancouver, Canada, his hometown where he worked for the navy translating code.
Later in his life he had another passion. My Grandfather was an amateur radio (ham radio) guy. On clear and warm summer’s night in Vancouver as a child, I would hear the distinct high pitched sounds of Morse Code coming from the basement of my Grandparents small home on the corner of East 2nd Avenue.
I would go downstairs into the dimly lit room and sit with my Grandfather in front of his rectangular metal amateur radio set upon his large wooden desk. I would ask him who he was talking to, and he would tell me that it was usually a friend from Russia or Japan. I was so intrigued that Grandpa could have friends in such faraway places and that they were easily communicating with a series of dots and dashes.
Grandpa’s call name was “V-E-7-V-C Victor Charlie.” I remember the stacks of postcards — calling cards sent to him by his ham radio friends from different countries around the world, and I would thumb through the postcards and daydream of these incredible places. In many ways, this was the original Social Network.
I often think to myself how much my Grandfather and I are alike in communicating today. Twitter in many ways is the modern day Morse Code. We each have “handles” and tweet in short messages. Every day, when I open my Twitter feed, I’m communicating with new friends from Europe to Asia. It has brought our worlds even closer and our networks even tighter.
I think of my Grandfather and his lifelong passion to communicate with the world, and know I am very much the same today.
My Grandfather had Parkinson’s Disease in the last decade of his life. We set up his amateur radio for him by his bedside where he could listen and translate the messages coming across the airwaves and stay connected to the world. It was very comforting knowing that he was always surrounded by his friends and family near and far, even as the Parkinson’s took over his body but never his mind.
When my Grandfather passed away, I had the daunting yet somehow beautiful task of choosing the music that would be played at his funeral. I selected Louis Armstrong’s “A Wonderful World” because I knew it was one of his favorites as it was also mine. To this day, when I hear that song, I know my Grandpa is with me and smiling down on me.
@LuxeTiffany: Happy Birthday, Grandpa, V-E-7-V-C Victor Charlie. I love you and miss you. This special tweet’s for you.
I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.
There’s nothing like another winter snow storm on the horizon to have me dreaming of a beautiful and warm tropical location where the only thing frozen is the drinks. Where I’d like to be today: Relaxing at Indigo on the Beach at Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St. Barts! Care to join me?
Ready to hit 10 Corso Como or my new favorite La Rinascente for some “luxe” shopping in Milan? Here’s a quick guide on how to pronounce designer names. Then you’ll be able to say, “Do you like my dress? It’s Hervé Léger: Air-vay Lay-jay, Darling!”
Anna Sui: Anna Swee
Badgley Mischka: Badge-lee Meesh-kah
Bottega Veneta: Bow-tay-guh Vah-netta
Christian Lacroix: Christian Luh-qua
Dries Van Noten: Drees Van Know-ten
Ermenegildo Zegna: Er-men-a-geel-do Zen-ya
Giambattista Valli: Gee-am-bah-tease-ta Valley
Hervé Léger: Air-vay Lay-jay
Jean Paul Gaultier: Zhon Paul Go-tee-ay
Louis Vuitton: Louie Vwee-tahhhhh…n
Miu Miu: Myoo Myoo
Monique Lhuillier: Monique Loo-lee-ay
Narciso Rodriguez: Nar-siss-so Ro-dree-gez
Prabal Gurung: Prub-ble Ger-rung
Proenza Schouler: Pro-en-zuh Skool-er
Yohji Yamamoto: Yo-gee Yom-ah-mow-toe
Yves Saint Laurent: Eve Sane Laurennnnn…t
It’s a sure sign that I love a particular hotel when I find the time to come back twice in one year. I have found this special place at The Dolder Grand in Zürich, Switzerland, a five star luxury hotel majestically perched above Lake Zürich. Its European elegance combined with modern design, zen-like atmosphere and excellent service make it my personal favorite hideaway of the year. It’s a place where I can “just be” –where I can find rest, relaxation, and serenity – time to regroup from my many months of travel.
The luxury hotel offers 173 rooms, a fabulous two Michelin stars restaurant with breathtaking views, a spectacular art collection and a 4,000 square meter spa – now fondly known as my Luxe Social Media Zürich office. Did I mention this hotel has some of the most reliable complimentary Wi-Fi of any luxury hotel around?
After days relaxing at the magnificent spa, you can take the Mercedes shuttle into Zürich to indulge in Sprüngli chocolate (don’t miss the famous hot chocolate) and shop along Bahnhofstrasse – Zürich’s main downtown street and one of the world’s most exclusive shopping avenues. Nearby there is even a shop called “Sparkling Shoes & Champagne.” Could heaven for women really exist right here in Zürich?
I won’t be staying away from Zürich for long. I’ve already planned a mother/daughter spa trip to The Dolder Grand in the New Year and highly recommend it as one of your must-visit places in 2013.