Happy 2016 folks! I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Writing this blog has been a really happy experience for me, but 2015 was not a kind year, the sort of year you want to bury deep, far and away, filled with so many tragedies and let downs that never really seemed to go away. So while writing and sharing posts with you all is something I really truly look forward to, sometimes it's difficult to write about fun design stuff when life is kicking your ass every day. That being said, I'm hoping 2016 brings more joy and opportunities and many more blog posts for you all to devour. Side note, I did have a few more holiday gift round ups that I never got around to sharing, so if you stick around, you just might get some more gift ideas for the 2016 season.
I really can't complain about this mild winter we are having, but since this is a time so many people are feeling like they need a proper escape, I thought that I would share with you the places I recommend you start looking at first.
It's really no secret that I'm a design junkie. Whenever I plan a holiday, whether it be for a day or a few weeks, I'm one of those crazies that wants it to be perfect. My producer brain will keep on planning it till the very end, and I'm never truly satisfied with the itinerary unless I've exhausted all angles and viable options. That means I need to know what the best cafes, restaurants, gelato shops, design stores, architectural landmarks, and basically all non touristy special or of interest places are within a 10 km radius of wherever we are staying, so that we don't run into massive delays looking for that perfect place to go when we are bored or hungry.
I'm not an all inclusive vacation kind of a gal, I've done it once and I don't really see myself doing it again. I find most all inclusives to be kind of tacky (sorry!), and generally, pretty terrifying places. I don't want to spend my vacation with a million other people, eating generic food, fighting over towels or spots on the beach, and spending time in a run of the mill hotel room. I know, snobsville, but if I'm going to spend my hard earned money, I would like it to be on something that I want to do, and stay in spots that interest and excite me and appeal to my design aesthetic.
So here is a round up of resources that I always go to first, sorry RedFlagDeals and ITravel2000.com.
DESIGN HOTELS - The ultimate in hotel porn, if that's your thing. And yes of course it's your thing, JUST LOOK AT THIS WEBSITE. The site feels fresh and makes you so excited about possibly booking your upcoming adventure here. I love their large scale photography, and this site allows you to narrow down your search results by city, country, or price. Super easy, super fun.
TABLET HOTELS - We exclusively only looked at hotels here when we planned our Palm Spring getaway last year. I love that they feature a very thoughtful selection of designer chic hotels from around the world, and you can also search their "best of" section, which essentially is their cream of the crop picks. And while beautifully designed hotels can be expensive, the choices here are quite varied, meaning you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to plan your next dream holiday.
BOUTIQUE HOMES - Boutique Homes has been inspiring me now for years, and not just with their carefully curated selection of vacation spots. I can spend hours on this site lusting over some incredibly beautifully designed houses from around the world. Here you are not looking to book a stay at some fancy schmancy hotel - these are real houses, like AIRBNB, but on steroids. You can search by category - Architectural, Sustainable, Historical, Mid Century Modern, Cheap and Chic etc - whatever floats your boat. You can rent villas, tree houses, beach houses...there really is an endless selection of totally unique spaces that will make you wish you lived there. Prices are per night or you can generally find better deals per week. I also like that they provide you with interior and exterior photos, and a little write up or photos of places nearby that are note worthy.
WELCOME BEYOND - This site is SOOOOO good. I don't think there is one place on here that I would not kill to stay at. They have such a mind blowing (but limited) selection of the best of the best - villas, boutique homes, bed and breakfasts, chalets, cabins, yurts, city apartments etc. If you are completely clueless, but want to give your significant other the vacation of their dreams, just book something on here. Their tagline is "hand-picked paradise" - and I would agree that Welcome Beyond has definitely nailed it.
SMALL LUXURY HOTELS - I almost forgot about Small Luxury Hotels, but what a mistake it would have been to exclude them from this list. This very small and hand picked list of just over 500 small luxury hotels around the world ensures you are getting a vetted luxury experience. They also have tons of deals and if you have any questions, the customer service provided is at the top of the list.
DESIGN TRIPPER - The writers behind this blog showcase some truly interesting indie, boutique and unique spaces (hotels, inns, villas, b&b's) to entice you for your next holiday. Definitely one of my go to's when I want something out of the box with a great story. Although I don't think this site is updated on a regular basis, there is a great catalog of spots to flip through.
In addition, here are a few more notable mentions if you are looking for a couple more resources to help round out your vacation selects.
DESIGN SPONGE - Design Sponge features great city guides (curated by people all over the world) that will definitely help make the most of your vacation. They do a fantastic job narrowing down the spots you should check out first when it comes to food or design destinations in a multitude of cities near and far.
GOOP - Say what you want about Gwyneth Paltrow, but she really has an amazing design sense and I love her for it. Her site features an incredibly stylish list of top restaurants, shops, hotels, and spas around the world to a breakdown of the best sandwiches in LA and hipster guides to NY or San Francisco.