I just returned from a little mini vacay in Los Angeles and during my stay I had drinks & dinner at Soho House, the posh and super exclusive private members club with outposts in London, New York and Berlin. Soho House West Hollywood just opened this March and has quickly become the newest Hollywood hot spot. On any given night you can look to your left and notice the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Look to your right and you might spot David and Victoria Beckham (who I hear were on a wait list to join until just recently!). It’s definitely the place to see and be seen for any of the who’s who in LA. (On the night I went I spotted Dylan McDermott, Ashlee Simpson and Ryan Phillipe!) To me whats more impressive than its A-list membership is the club’s fabulous interiors! Designed by Cuban-born Waldo Fernandez, the 20,000 square foot penthouse offers jaw dropping 360 degree views of Los Angeles and features a bar, restaurant, roof garden and a private event space. Fernandez is the go-to designer for Hollywood celebrities and entertainment industry execs and has designed homes for Tobey Maguire, Brad & Angelina, Keanu Reeves and director Brett Ratner among others. For the Soho House West Hollywood he created a relaxed and sophisticated space that evokes the feeling of old Hollywood glamour meets English gentlemans’ club. I was blown away by the beauty of the interior architecture and decoration. Here’s a little peek inside the gorgeous space!
If you’re looking to plan a little getaway, I’d highly recommend packing your bags and heading South of the border for a relaxing stay at Cabo Azul, a chic luxury resort just outside of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. When I went to Cabo in Feburary I had the pleasure of staying at Cabo Azul and it was truly one of the most beautiful resorts I’ve ever visited. Situated at the tip of the Baja Penninsula along a 12 acre stretch of white sand beachfront, Cabo Azul is a luxe oasis with beautifully landscaped grounds, stylish interior spaces and incredible views of the Sea of Cortes.
The interiors were created by renowned hospitality designer Dodd Mitchell who has designed a number of world class hotels and restaraunts including the Hollywood Roosevelt, the Thompson Beverly Hills and the restaraunts Bond Street and Dolce in Los Angeles. I typically prefer smaller boutique hotels and Cabo Azul has 332 rooms. Despite the size of the resort, it’s surprisingly quiet and has a peaceful, serene ambiance. Each of the rooms are actually 1, 2 or 3 bedroom villas. The villas are sleek and sophisticated with a light, bright and airy feeling. I love all of the dark wood accents and Spanish and Moroccan influences.
Each villa includes a fully equipped kitchen and the resort has personal chef’s on hand to prepare fresh, in-room meals if you desire.
Cabo Azul is full of amenities, one of my favorites being their gourmet market which reminded me of Citarella here in New York. The market offers gourmet selections of your typical groceries including meats, dairy, produce and packaged goods. They also have a great selection of gourmet cheeses, wine and liquor as well as your standard toiletries. If that isn’t enough, the resort also has a bakery, a deli a gelateria, an internet cafe and a great fitness center on site.
Flor de Noche and Javier’s are the two restaurants at the resort. Flor de Noche is located right on the pool deck and offers casual, open air dining under a palapa covered roof. There’s also a swim up bar. This is where I ate most nights during my trip. I loved the fresh fish tacos and other seafood concoctions.
The inside of the palapa roof at Flor de Noche is lined with this incredible pattern of
nautical ropes that cascades down a column in the center of the restaurant. Above is a photo taken at night. Javier’s offers a more formal dining experience. I didn’t eat there at all (stuck to Flor de Noche & room service) but my traveling companions did and they thought the food at Javier’s was amazing.
The pool area is probably the resort’s crowning feature. It includes several connected, multi-level infinity pools which are surrounded by cabanas, stylish chaises and chic bamboo pod lounge beds. The pools are all kept at a warm temperature so you feel as though you’re swimming in a pool of warm bathwater. It’s divine! The landscaping also features several large flaming fire scluptures which illuminate the grounds at night.
For more information on Cabo Azul, visit their website here. And in case you were interested in seeing some of my personal photos from the trip, below are a few.
The main living area. How fabulous is that Moroccan lantern?!
The view of the pool and beach from my room
I wish I was back there drinking this!
Just before Christmas I escaped to the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda for 5 nights and I’m really excited to share a bit of my trip with you. If you’re not familiar with Virgin Gorda, it’s located in the Caribbean just East of Puerto Rico and is one of the British Virgin Islands. It’s a tiny little island that spans just 8 square miles and has a small population of around 3,000 people. Getting there was a bit of a journey. I flew from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico which took just over 4 hours and from there I took 45 minute flight on a small propeller plane to the island of Tortola. Once I landed in Tortola I took a short van ride to a nearby boat dock where I was picked up by a ferry that took me to Virgin Gorda. The ferry ride was about 20 minutes long.
I snapped this beautiful photo of the sun setting from the boat. During my trip I stayed at a beautiful resort called Little Dix Bay
. The ferry I took belonged to the resort and the great thing about it (aside from the rum punch served!) is that it took me
directly from the dock on Tortola to the Little Dix Bay property. While on the ferry, I was checked in and handed the keys to my room so that when we arrived I was all set to go. Such a great service as it was nice to not have to go to the front desk to check in.
This is the dock at Little Dix Bay. Upon arrival I was greeted by several friendly hotel staffers who took my luggage and since my room was on the farthest end of the resort property, they gave me a lift on a golf cart.
This was my cute little room. The decor was simple…nothing to write home about but it was comfortable and had the most beautiful views of the bay. It’s definitely a place designed for relaxation. None of the rooms have televisions and I didn’t even miss it. In fact, I didn’t even notice there was no TV until my third day there!
Here’s another shot of the room where you can see the gorgeous ocean view just outside my window. It’s hard to tell from the photos but the room was almost octagonal, with a pitched wood beamed ceiling…it kind of reminded me of a yurt. My room was on the second floor but right on the beach. So perfect.
This was my balcony….
And this was the view from my balcony….so beautiful to wake up to every morning.
I didn’t snap any photos of the bathroom so here’s one from the resort’s website. Mine looked exactly like this.
The property was beautifully landscaped with lush trees and beautiful flowering bushes and shrubs everywhere. I snapped this photo walking along the resort’s main road.
Here’s shot of the main road where guests walk or ride via golf cart to get from place to place on the resort. Little Dix Bay offers an array of amenities from amazing restaurants and a gorgeous pool, to a world-class spa, a great gym, tennis courts and a variety of water activities.
The hotel has two formal restaurants as well as a Beach Grill which is a bit more casual. Above is the Sugar Mill restaurant which is the “nicer” restaurant at Little Dix Bay. I ate there on my first night on the island and the food was amazing.
This is the Pavilion restaurant where I ate breakfast and lunch every day as well as several dinners. I’m not much of a fan of buffets but one day a week the Pavilion has this ridiculously over-the-top buffet. It was amazing…I consumed so much seafood I’m surprised I didn’t get mercury poisoning! The pavilion is also where I went for a drink most nights and was great for people watching. I can’t resist telling you that during my stay I spotted Orlando Bloom as well as Nick and Drew Lachey who were all staying at Little Dix Bay too!
This resort is situated on a long strip of gorgeous white sand beach which you can see pictured above. Isn’t it gorgeous?
This is the pool at the resort, also very beautiful. I loved Little Dix Bay. Aside from being insanely beautiful, I give the place an A plus on service as well. The staffers couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating. After my wonderful stay, Little Dix Bay is definitely on my Haute Hotels list! For more on the resort visit their website
Virgin Gorda is definitely a destination for people who want to get away from it all. The Island is small…there really isn’t a central town and if you want to shop you’ll have to hop a ferry to nearby Tortola or St. Thomas. Pretty much the only thing to do on VG is go to the beach, eat and drink which suits me just fine and is all I did when I was there. Above is Spring Bay beach. I spent the first three days of my trip hanging out there during the day. The thing I love most about the beaches of Virgin Gorda is that they’re empty! There were less than 10 other people at any of the beaches I went to at a given time…so peaceful and serene.
Here’s another view of Spring Bay beach.
Another beach I visited was Devil’s Bay. This is a photo of the path to get there. I was surprised to see lots of cacti on the island because I usually equate cacti with desert locations, but there was cacti abound on Virgin Gorda.
Here’s more of the path to the beach. It was about a 15 minute hike down a hill, through trees and
bushes…it was a beautiful hike but also kind of scary because I was all alone walking through
what felt like a jungle!
When I finally got to the beach this is the beauty that awaited me.
There was a lovely Canadian couple walking nearby who saw me taking photos of myself and offered to take my picture. I jumped at the offer since all of my pictures from the trip are “self-portraits” with my extended arm visible in the shot! I usually don’t like to post photos of myself but this is the only one I had that showed a broader perspective of what Devil’s Bay looks like. Isn’t it beautiful?
While I was laying out there were some chickens that tried to encroach on my territory!
It was pretty funny to see chickens on a beach! This one had such beautiful coloring.
The island is best known for all of its beautiful natural rock formations. These are some of the rocks at Devil’s Bay but just nearby is perhaps one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the Caribbean…a beach called The Baths that has the most beautiful natural rock formations I’ve ever seen.
The BathsThe Baths
The Baths is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Virgin Gorda. People often take day trips from nearby islands just to experience this unique beach. The giant rocks and boulders form many natural caves with shallow pools of water that are so much fun to explore. I took this photo above inside one of the caves.
I only ventured away from the resort for dinner once and that was to go to The Rock Cafe
. The Rock is considered by many to be the nicest restaurant on the island. Inside is a lively atmosphere with a bar and a band band while outside is a serene dining area surrounded by large rocks (hence the name) with fish ponds and waterfalls adding to the ambiance. The service was great as was the food…I had lobster spaghetti…so good!
The day before I headed back to New York I took a taxi tour of the island so I could finally get a chance to see more than just the beaches. Above are the Copper Mine ruins.
Up until the late 19th century, Virgin Gorda was rich with copper and this used to be the mines where the copper was extracted. The Copper Mine ruins are now a national park.
For Virgin Gordian’s this is the equivalent of the Rockefeller Center tree in New York. While I was there, the island had its tree lighting ceremony. I didn’t go but I heard that many of the islands residents attended and each year it’s quite a big event in town.
My taxi driver Andy was nice enough to drive me up up the tallest mountain on the island so I could see the view from the highest point. This is a zoomed in photo but the far island in the shot is Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s luxe private island which is a popular vacation destination for the uber rich and famous.
As we were coming down the mountain the sun was starting to set so I had to stop and take a photo. One of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve seen and a perfect ending to a perfect trip!
I spent most of last week in Chicago for work. Chicago is one of my all-time favorite cities…I absolutely love it there. I went to college there and it’s not too far from where I grew up in Michigan so it’s like my second home. And during my visit the weather was absolutely perfect. I almost forgot how beautiful the city is in the summer! I had such an amazing time but what made my trip even better was staying at The James Hotel. I’ve stayed at The James once before and now after two great stays I’ve deemed the hotel worthy of Haute Hotel status here on So Haute!
The James is a luxury boutique hotel with impeccable service and a warm atmosphere. Being inside the hotel feels like you’re in a place “where the cool kids hang out” yet it also exudes a quietness that makes you feel relaxed and a sophistication that makes you feel like you’re in a special place. The James is characteristically modern both in its decor and in its amenities. One of the features I love is the small library in the hotel lobby that’s filled with current magazines and a well edited selection of amazing fashion, art and design books that are available for guests to peruse. During my most recent stay, I took a copy of Julian Schnabel’s book up to my room and got lost flipping through the pages which highlight his fascinating work.
A Guest Room
The James’ architectural and interior design was done by the New York based firm Deborah Berke and Partners who created a modern, minimalist and slightly masculine retreat that exudes both style and comfort. In the rooms, cool tones of gray are juxtaposed with warm wood paneling and hints of red.
A Loft Suite
The decor includes custom furniture such as the hotel’s signature wooden platform beds combined with modern furniture classics like the Noguchi table you see in the photo above and the Eames lounger that you see in the photo below. The clean bathrooms are tiled with slate and marble and feature deep soaking tubs along with many uniquely modern fittings and fixtures. I’m kind of a snob about bathroom amenities in hotels so I was pleased with the selection of Kiehl’s products in the bathrooms at The James.
A Penthouse Suite
Other pleasing guest room amenities include 42″ plasma TVs, ipod docks and dimmable lighting. And if you have a pet traveling with you, no worries. The James is pet friendly as evidenced by the huge doggie bowl of water at the hotel’s front entrance.
Inside David Burke’s Primehouse
The James also wins points for having an amazing restaurant: celebrity chef David Burke’s Primehouse. The ultra cool steakhouse, which offers 24 hour room service for hotel guests, features an extensive menu of creative, modern cuisine including prime cuts of dry aged steaks which are their specialty. I’m easy to please so the highlights for me were the incredible, buttery popovers that are served before your meal as well as their truffled fries sprinkled with asiago cheese. They were SO good! It’s not a surprise that Primehouse has quickly become a Chicago favorite that is enjoyed by hotel guests as well as local Chicagoans.
If you’re looking for a little nightlife action, The James’ JBar is a great place to visit. JBar is the hotel’s sophisticated lounge that offers amazing cocktails in a cool atmosphere. It’s one of the “it” places to see and be seen in the city and is frequented by many of Chicago’s boldface names. I would highly recommend a stay at The James on your next visit to The Windy City. For more info on the hotel, click here
Last week I was in Miami for work and blogged about my trip here. Well, I’m back in Miami again…this time to attend a weekend long bachelorette party celebration for a good friend of mine. I travel quite often and love to keep up with the latest hotels in some of my favorite destinations so today I am highlighting a gorgeous hotel that is right here in South Beach.
With the fairly recent redevelopment of the Miami Design District as well as the growing popularity of Art Basel as one of America’s premiere contemporary art exhibitions, Miami has slowly been establishing itself as a design mecca over the past several years. And South Beach is home to a number of iconic hotels with beautifully designed interiors including The Tides South Beach, a hotel whose redesign was just completed this January. The interiors of The Tides were done by none other than our favorite design darling Kelly Wearstler.
Wearstler designed every single element of the hotel. The overall look is infused with her signature modern Hollywood glamour style but the interiors also have a bit of an Art Deco feel as Wearstler thoughtfully approached her design with the landmark building’s 1930′s Art Deco architecture in mind. Above is the hotel’s dramatic lobby which features opulent details such as a 1920s gold leaf wall hanging and beautifully tufted chesterfield style leather sofas.
The all-suite hotel features 45 guest rooms, all with ocean views. The rooms are very glamorous and modern and each suite features one of a kind vintage elements as well as artwork and custom furniture hand picked by Wearstler to give each space its own unique feel. The room above is absolutely stunning.
Because the hotel is situated on the beach, Wearstler kept the spaces light and airy to reflect the sunlight and to give off a casually chic, beachy vibe. The colors used in the spaces reflect the natural hues of the hotel’s ocean front location. The color of the floors remind me of sand, the bright orange upholstered headboard in the bedroom photo is reminiscent of a starfish and the sofa above is upholstered in a warm coral colored fabric. Elements such the vintage seashell lamp and the driftwood coffee tables above add to the beach chic feel.
In this photo you can see the incredible ocean view from the room’s window. Everything about this room is perfect. It exudes glamour and sophistication but also projects a casual elegance that seems so inviting. The Tides South Beach is certainly a sophisticated hotel designed with the luxury traveler in mind…And with luxury prices to boot! Doubles start at $700. Exclusive ownership opportunities are also available and prices range from $800,000 to $1,400,000. For more information on the tides visit tidessouthbeach.com.
Since we’re on the subject of Kelly Wearstler’s hotel interiors, I was recently tipped off that she will be bringing her signature style to the British West Indies in the Carribean with her latest project, the Viceroy Anguilla Resort & Residences. Wearstler is designing the entire property which is being developed by her husband’s Kor Hotel Group. A rendering of a guest suite is seen below.
The resort, currently under construction, is located on 35 lush acres of land with 3,200 feet of gorgeous beach front real estate along Barnes and Meade Bays in Anguilla. Once completed, the resort will feature 140 villas and town homes, all situated beachfront or blufftop. Forty five of these units will be available for ownership.
Above is another rendering of one of the resort’s villas and you can see that the architecture is very clean and modern. The resort recently unveiled a model villa and like The Tides, The Viceroy Anguilla’s interiors reflect the naturally beautiful aesthetics of its beachfront location. The interiors, which reflect the modern architecture of the villas and townhomes, are filled with many organic materials and textures. In a Kor Hotel group press release, Wearstler says, “Overall, I was inspired by the tranquil beach setting. In designing the property, we used textiles and techniques from all over the world, including hand-carved wood pieces from Asia, hammered metalwork from India and beaded artwork from Africa which offer a visual contrast with the modern architecture.”
The five star Viceroy Anguilla Resort & Residences is scheduled to open this winter. Wearstler’s hotel projects are always so captivating and inspiring so I can’t wait to see the finished product! For more information on the resort, visit viceroyanguilla.com.