September 22, 2014

A New Grand Dame Opens in Paris

The Peninsula Paris, which opened in August, has made a huge splash in a city dominated by über-luxury hotels. Peninsula joins other Asian hoteliers, Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental and Raffles (Royal Monceau) in entering Paris' luxury hotel scene. They all will be providing stiff competition to the classic "palace" hotels such as the Ritz and the Crillon, both of which are closed for multi-year renovations, the newly re-opened Plaza Athenee, as well as icons such as the George V, Le Bristol and Le Meurice.

The building itself is not new. In its former life, the Peninsula was known as the Hôtel Majestic, opened in 1908 and holding a position at the center of Paris’s Belle Époque and Roaring Twenties social scenes — including playing host to the "greatest dinner party of all time" in 1922 with a guest list including luminaries such as James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky.  George Gershwin wrote An American in Paris while staying there, and it was the sight of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords ending the Vietnam War.
During the four year and nearly $1 billion restoration, experts took the best aspects of the historic building and carefully restored each element, enhancing the traditional grandeur with 21st century modernist elements many expect from the Peninsula brand.

“This building has no soul without the people,” says Nicolas Béliard, the general manager, referring to his staff of 600 (for 200 rooms)...anyone who has ever stayed at a Peninsula is familiar with their extraordinarily high standard of service, which no doubt is ever present at the Peninsula Paris.
The rooftop restaurant L'Oiseau Blanc is the IT table of the moment in Paris...with views like that, it is no surprise. If the lead-in room rate of 1000 euros/night is a bit deep for your pockets, dinner or drinks at this gorgeous rooftop restaurant would be a great way to experience the hottest hotel in town.  

September 19, 2014

On My Radar Screen

Happy Friday!! It is the official "last weekend" of summer, but it definitely is feeling like fall around here. It has been a totally crazy week and I have honestly barely left my desk. The sad thing about that is that is has also been a gorgeous week here in Connecticut and I have spent my days inside. But guess what? It's the weekend! Time to get outside and breathe in some of that fresh, crisp air that makes me love New England in September! The next two weekends I will be traveling so I plan to enjoy a laid back couple of days, just relaxing and enjoying this beautiful time of year. What are you up to?

Here are a few things "pinging" my radar this week:
via, I Dream Of
Jeanne, of I Dream Of,  just returned from an incredible trip to Scotland and Iceland. Not only is Jeanne one of the sweetest people in the blogging world and an amazing artist, she is also a remarkable photographer...check out her latest post on Scotland, with more to come,  and follow her Instagram will be ready to don some Tartan and head out for some "country pursuits" after seeing her beautiful photos.
Janelle McCulloch's blog, A Library of Design, is another favorite (she is also one of my favorite authors) - there is always something eye catching on her blog, but this post on travel particularly caught my eye...lots of great information there!

 HiP Paris' post on the best candy shops in Paris is literally eye candy...

Gray Malin's aerial travel photos are legendary and deservedly so. He just released a limited edition of New York photos which are spectacular - I love the Coney Island ones. To get a little of the Gray Malin magic without spending a fortune, check out his gift wrap...I might be tempted to frame IT!

Go here if you cannot view the video.  
Have you ever sat next to anyone interesting or famous on a plane? The clip of Tina Fey (as 30 Rock's Liz Lemon) sitting next to Oprah made me laugh. I would probably have a hard time staying cool in that circumstance too!

I get excited whenever one of my favorite authors releases a new book...Susan Vreeland did not disappoint with Lisette's List. It combines several of my favorite things - art, history and France. What are you reading these days?

 Don't miss this giveaway from two of my favorite brands - Tieks and Vineyard Vines are giving away $200 gift cards to each online store. Tieks are far and away the most comfortable shoes I own...and I am partial to VV because the founders graduated from my boys' alma mater and I have been following their success from day one. I picked up my first Vineyard Vines bag at their warehouse in Stamford when they only had ten employees and no retail outlets. 

That's it for this week everyone...Cheers to a sunny weekend...wherever you may be wandering! 


September 17, 2014

Forget Traveling Light...How about Luggage Free??

As much as these photos idealize traveling with a complete set of gorgeous leather luggage, the reality is that traveling these days is hardly glamorous.

Countless articles and blog posts have been written about the virtues of packing light...something I have working on my whole life and still haven't quite mastered. However, there are other times when packing light is simply not an option - moving to a new country, an extended trip, a golf or ski vacation, or traveling with young children. For those times, why pay huge airline fees for multiple bags and schlep everything yourself (because let's face it, the photos are a complete fantasy)?

 Luggage Free offers an excellent alternative. Just pack your bags as if you were taking them to the airport, then call to arrange a time for your bags to be picked up at your home, office, hotel or cruise ship. Luggage Free does the rest - they will arrive at the specified time (often within 6 hours of your call), wrap your luggage in their special plastic covering and deliver it to your destination where it will be waiting for you when you arrive! Everything is tracked and guaranteed to be delivered on time. How easy is that?!

Even better Luggage Free is offering my readers and clients $25 off their services. Use code "2032935" to receive your discount or e-mail me and I will send you the coupon.

Smart travelers, pack light...even smarter travelers, travel Luggage Free!

(I was not compensated for this post...I just wanted to share what I believe is an ingenious service and the $25 coupons. However, if Luggage Free wants to offer to ship my bags on my upcoming trip to Asia, I wouldn't argue!)

September 15, 2014

Why Do We Travel??

One of my highlights of Virtuoso Travel Week was attending a lecture presented by the esteemed travel writer, Pico Iyer, on "Why We Travel".  Prior to this event, I had not heard of Mr. Iyer but his talk was incredibly inspiring. I couldn't find a video version of the talk he gave to us, but I did find this Ted Talk which is excellent:

Go here if you cannot view the video.
His essay on "Why We Travel" can be found is definitely worth a read. And, if that leaves you wanting to learn more about this amazing writer, traveler and man, then check out his web site, Pico Iyer Journeys.

Now I ask all of you...Why Do You Travel?? 


(All photos are of Kyoto, Japan, Mr. Iyer's adopted home and a city where I am thrilled to be visiting later this fall. )