Archive for the ‘Cool Places’ Category

Oh, how real life gets in the way of dreams!! I lament.

Last year, I promised myself that I would do more traveling this year – to Europe – like the Venice Biennale, the Milan Furniture Fair etc.  Any excuse to go back to Europe for a while.  And besides, I do have friends that I could stay with.  So there’s no excuse really. Right?

How can you possibly answer that without knowing the full story.  And unfortunately, this isn’t the forum for that. So, to make up for my missed trips, and in particular my missed trip to  Venice – The most magical city in the world – I came across Christoph Neimann’s very entertaining post “72 Hours in Venice” on this Sunday’s NY Times Abstract Sundays blog.

Very cute and humorous.

Thanks for the little escape, Christoph.



Read Full Post »

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Milan about 4 times in my life.  And the saying “Milan works, so that Rome can eat!” always pops into my head whenever the name is said.  Milan is an industrial city with areas of extreme beauty and areas of big city decrepitude.  And I’ve stayed in both areas.  For those of you who have taken the train into Milan will know what I’m talking about.  It’s here, many years ago, that I saw tagging at it’s most prolific.  It seemed that everywhere outside of the Duomo district, buildings were tagged. This shocked me. And then I heard that the mayor at the time was of the opinion that if the people weren’t bothered by it then why should he do anything.  That’s the Italian way.

Milan is home to some of the biggest design shows in the world and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile is one of them.  This is the biggest design event in the industry. And yes, I missed it again this year!  It ended this past Sunday April 17th. Oh well, there’s always next year.

I’ll mention the interesting pieces found at the show in future posts, but today I came across the Palazzo Segreti; one of the many hotels servicing the show.  But this one is special.

Palazzo Segreti, is a new concept hotel conceived and designed by Roberta Tibaldi and her husband Francesco, “Palazzo Segreti is designed as our home. A house is open to the guests with a warm touch but at the same time, respecting their privacy. In a more and more media-oriented world where Privacy fades, Palazzo Segreti recovers the charm of mystery, of knowing how to retract and relax – perhaps – to regain our truest innerself. For Business man it’s a refreshing retreat, for tourists it’s the discovery of the Italian allure and flavours”.

In Italy, it’s all about the food, art and architecture and the Tibaldi’s have done a beautiful job combining all in their hotel.  They have liaised with Lia Rumma Gallery to bring their guests the newest in artists work.  And architecture was completed by Brizzi+Riefenstahl-Studio.

The design of the rooms is what caught my attention.  The use of Venetian plaster is so fresh when combined with modern pieces. Italians know how to do “sexy” really well.

For your next trip to Milan, stay at the Palazzo Segreti and let me know how your stay was.


Read Full Post »


Tigers Nest Monastery

Last week, I was talking with my friend, Fiona, who was about to embark on a vacation that she had been planning for months.

Destination – Bhutan

I had forgotten about Bhutan, until intrigue got me researching.  And then I remembered.  Many years ago, I saw a documentary on a land far away that was considered to be the last Shangri La on earth; where the government was more concerned with the “Gross National Happiness” than the “Gross National Product”; where the people were always laughing and enjoying life.  “Where on earth is this place? I must go there”, I said to myself.  Its name was Bhutan.

Bhutan is a country surrounded by China to the north and India to the south, Tibet as a close neighbour, still has a king and is the land of the “Thunder Dragon”; A land of colour and vibrant living.

An avid photographer, Fiona will be reporting on her trips to some of the weaving mills, but in the meantime, I thought I’d get your colour juices going this morning with a colour study of the coronation of the recent Dragon King in 2008.

Happy Happy Monday!!!


Read Full Post »

Happy Tuesday!

Missing Monday was unintentional but unavoidable because I was attempting to get home from a whirlwind wedding weekend in Cape Cod. A long 12 hour drive (10 hours door to door) was not totally unpleasant when mixed with good company, great tunes and snacks. And it was worth it.

Any environment change is a welcome break for me and going to a beautiful place like Cape Cod is heaven, even without the hydrangeas in full bloom.  The best part was staying in Scituate; my girlfriend’s stunningly renovated “Salt Box” style clapboard “Ocean Retreat”. That’s what we decided to dub it this weekend.

I was informed that the”rich” Bostonites created this community (1 hour south of Boston) as their summer cottage escape, way back when. But, as far as I’m concerned it’s still a very “rich” community.  The only difference is that now people actually live there year round. And lucky they are, with their very own private neighbourhood white sandy beach and one of the best spas around (Thank you Joanie for the awesome massage at Vinette’s Day Spa!). Who would need to go away?

Each home I saw was more stunning than the one before.  Some Cape Cod style, others English Country Style with cedar shakes or clapboard.  All impeccably maintained.

Here are a few of the homes I snapped on one of my morning walks:

Trust me, there were more.  If I were forced to choose one… it would be this last one.  Although I love sweeping porches, the quaintness of this one just appeals to me.  And besides, I know they have a huge screened-in porch at the back!

Aaaah to dream….


Read Full Post »

As promised, here’s a peek at some of the designer rooms that were open to the public on the night of the Gladstone’s 5th Anniversary Party.  These rooms were being raffled off throughout the evening.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win one, but they are for rent any time.

Room 306 Urban Voyageur by Koma Designs & Paul Fortin

Room 305 – Teen Queen by Cecilia Berkovic..my friend Kristin’s absolute fave!

Room 316 – Flight 316 by Adam Berkowitz & George Simionpoulos

Room 318 – Blue Line by Ghost Design (Barr Gilmore & Michel Archand)

Room 317 – Model Citizen by Julian Finkel

Room 402 – Echame Flores by Rayne Baron

Room 405 – Parlour of Twilight by Simone Moir & Corwyn Lund

Room 407 – Racine by Susan Collett, Penelope Stewart & Nicholas Stirling

Room 409 – The Tower Suite by Christina Zeidler & Jane Zeidler

Room 416 – Felt Room by Kathryn Walter


Read Full Post »

Propelling us into the future of hotel experiences, Karim Rashid, along with star architect, Sergei Tchoban, has created a hotel that is an experience in of itself.  Located on the Spree River in Berlin, nhow has 304 guest rooms, meeting facilities, a restaurant, bar, lobby and lounge and will leave you feeling like you’ve gone to music heaven.

With his signature colours and sensual designs, Rashid clearly wants guests to experience design at every level.  From the moment you enter and are greeted at the purple reception desk, you are experiencing what Rashid defines as “dimensional interior environments”.  This dimension includes music.  nhow has their own music manager and an integrated high-end recording studio.  So whether you’re a business traveler, jet setter, party animal or band you’re in for an experience like no other.

Of course there’s wireless internet, videos-on-demand, and connection cable and charging stations for PC’s Mac’s, iPods etc. Plus integrated TV’s and a high-end sound system of course.  You never have to leave your room!  Except to eat of course.  There’s a fantastic spa as well.  Thank you!!

Take a look at the fun interiors:

I’m starting to love pink and purple!!!  Look out clients!






Read Full Post »

While speaking to my girlfriend (who now lives in South Africa), this morning, she asked me again, “When are you coming to see me”.  Big sigh.  Frankly, the long trip is daunting to me. (I don’t do well in one spot for too long.  Will someone please bring back the Concord!). So I said, meet me in Tunisia and we can check out this fantastic new hotel. “OK”, she said.

I’ve been waiting for the pictures of the Dar HI Hotel for a few weeks and here they are fresh off the press.  The hotel just opened this past November to resounding success.

Six years after their first successful HI Hotel in Nice, Philippe Chapelet and Patrick Elouarghi once again have commissioned Matali Crasset to create a hotel experience like never before.

Dar HI is located in the historic district of Nefta town, Tunisia, on the edge of the desert but close to the city,(The English Patient and Star Wars were filmed in the Nefta Desert). Designed with respect to the landscape, there are 4 concepts for the 17 rooms. The Pill House or air-type is elevated to show panoramic views. The Troglodyte room is an independent dwelling made from small-bricks that are locally made. The Dune, is at the same level as the sand. And the Dar Malika, is a traditional house. The owners have made great efforts to utilize local materials and have created a green self-sustainable environment. Very nice.

Matali Crasset shows her design genius by created an environment that has all the luxuries and ambiance of a modern hotel but at the same time brilliantly integrated the exterior into the local landscape.  And I love the Hammam spa!

I’m liking the Pill room for the views.

Experience HI LIFE here. Check out the Dar HI hotel here, while listening to the cool tunes of Kompakt radio.

Start packing your bags, Gina!


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: