Top Ten Travel List Guaranteed to Lift You Out of The Doldrums

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Got those ‘after the holidays, back to reality’ winter blues? Here’s a Top Ten Travel List guaranteed to lift you out of the doldrums


Naples pizza spinning has earned them World Heritage status with UNESCO and this pizza-crazed city is finally getting the respect it deserves!

The art of ‘pizzaiuolo’ (twirling the dough and baking it in a wood-fired brick oven) has been handed down for generations and NAPLES has been lobbying for this ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ award for quite some time.

Lest you think Naples is all about their pizza pie, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site because it has the largest historical center in Europe, the Archeological Museum is one of the best of its kind in the world, their underground tunnels are extensive, the churches are too numerous to count and the Capodimonte Museum has one of the best collections of oil paintings in Italy.

Now you can have your cake—I mean pie—and eat it too!!!


Put Luang Prabang on the top of your go-to list for 2018. This former capital of Laos is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and has remained relatively undiscovered until now.

Scheduled to open early 2018, Rosewood Luang Prabang  is immersed in a virtually untouched and virtuous environment bordered by streams and riverbanks. Even their farm-to-table dining experience offers old style cooking where everything is made from scratch from surrounding organic farms.

Now you can give alms to the Buddhist monks chanting in early morning, discover the various elegant temples, cruise along the Mekong river, experience the local, Shamanic healing rituals or master the OM in luxurious, peaceful surroundings.


Mountain Gorillas live in a high altitude rain forest environment and their small habitat range spans just a portion of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not only is The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda a UNESCO World Heritage site (I seem to be on a UNESCO roll), it is one of the best places to experience this gorilla interaction. There are less than 900 of these amazing primates remaining in the wild and only 8 visitors are allowed to visit each gorilla family group per day. Travelers are always asking if they should go to Uganda or Rwanda for gorilla trekking ; the edge goes to UGANDA since their permit costs are holding steady ($600 per person, per day) while Rwanda recently doubled their permit costs (from $750 to $1500 per person, per day). Getting value for your money should even apply to gorillas!


I am thrilled to report that St. Barth is on the mend and will be back in business tout suite! Here’s a quick hotel update: Villa Marie, one of the newest hotels in St. Barth, is reopening on March 2. The Hotel Christopher has been completely refurbished, including their Sisley Spa and is reopening on Feb 20. Le Toiny, Le Sereno and Le Barthelemy will be open between mid-October to mid-December. Cheval Blanc St Barth Isle de France, Eden Rock and Guanahani should be open for the festive season and are taking reservations now and the private villas that have been damaged from the hurricane are in renovation as we speak. Most of the restaurants are open including under-the-radar Yo Sushi Mania and the new darling of the Island, Ociela. The beaches are even larger than before thanks to Irma so start packing your bags…

A SHOUT OUT TO WASHINGTON STATE (actually 2 shout outs):


Poor Pacific Northwest—it sometimes gets overlooked, but the next time you are planning a trip, consider this special region with limited crowds, spectacular wildlife viewing and beautiful landscapes. Take a private tour of San Juan Island from the quaint Harbor to the lavender farms to the fantastic farm to table, local restaurants and end your day at the fabulous Friday Harbor House with their outstanding views and remarkable sunsets.

If you’re into adventure, take a kayaking tour; you may get a glimpse of the water fowl and marine wildlife and, if you like to explore local villages, visit Orcas Island alive with art galleries, restaurants, cafes and a not-to-be missed Historical Museum. The piece de resistance, however, is the whale watching since this is considered the BEST place to view orca whales ; these killer whales spend 6 month a year from mid-April to the beginning of October in the waters around the San Juan Islands. Why see the movie JAWS when this is the real deal!


Seattle, how do I love thee Let me count the ways… it’s an exciting time for this eclectic city with many new neighborhoods emerging from rustic laid back with an infusion of bustling tech industries to ‘hoods with a funky, hipster vibe.

Ballard has that classic Pacific Northwest feel to it with some of the best breweries, restaurants and boutiques around. The Walrus and the Carpenter is a must-go-to oyster bar co-owned by Renee Erickson who won the James Beard 2016 Northwest Best Chef award for her nearby restaurant, The Whale Wins.

West Seattle is up and coming with great restaurants, shopping and the scenic Alki Beach on the Sound. During the summer, the Seafair Festival is one huge lake party with the hydroplane races and the U.S Blue Angels putting on a gala show.

It’s all about location, location, location and this peninsula couldn’t be better located with the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains to the west, Mount Rainier to the Southeast and Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains to the east. And for those very cool Millennials that want a raw surfing camp experience, check out Loge Camp which is a new-wave ‘airbnb-esque’ concept!

I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention Amazon Go, the futuristic convenience store where there are no cashiers or registers in sight, but, beware, Big Brother is watching you!


Do you have a few hours to spare? Thierry Teyssier, the mastermind behind Dar Ahlam Hotel in Morocco, is the creator and founder of 700,000 Hours, a members-only pop up hotel experience that changes destinations every 6 months. Instead of using hotels, they find amazing places to stay ranging from villas to temples to chateaus and each day is a new, impromptu adventure with endless possibilities and surprises. Set in the wine growing region of Salento, located in Southern Puglia, is where 700,000 Hours will start the clock and where your first journey begins! From your historic palace built in 1861, you might take a boat ride and sail from cave to cave while your crew dives for sea urchins, perfect for your midday lunch. You may decide to cycle through the olive groves in full harvest, learn to make fresh pasta or opt for a wine tasting in a traditional cellar, all with a vintage Fiat 500 at your disposal.

Please contact me since the hours are ticking away …


On every tourist board’s ‘no-go’ list for decades, Colombia is finally gaining recognition and it is fast becoming the destination du jour! Start off in Cartagena’s Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (I’m still on my UNESCO roll), where winding streets are lined with colorful colonial houses, exquisite restaurants, trendy cocktail bars and popping salsa clubs. Once ruled by the world’s most notorious drug lord, Medellín is now dubbed the   ‘most innovative city in the world’ – standing proud as a beacon of social transformation, progressive technology and incredibly welcoming locals. In the same Andean region, you will find the rolling hills of Colombia’s Coffee Triangle, adorned with its iconic 60-foot wax palms. Go horseback riding, biking or trekking through traditional coffee farms, learn the secrets of coffee in unique tasting sessions and turn in for the night in an authentic Hacienda-turned-luxury-boutique hotel. Feeling even more adventurous? Discover why off-the-beaten-path Barichara is considered the most beautiful town in Colombia and feel the thrill mountain biking and paragliding over the surrounding Chicamocha Canyon. If you’re still struggling to decide on just one country, head to Colombia – it’s like ten rolled into one.


Move over Iceland; Greenland is now starting to appear on everyone’s bucket list. It’s authentic, rustic, fragile and extreme, including the weather. Still- to- be discovered, Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, is the perfect entrée into this land of raw, natural beauty; the mode of transportation is by boat so the chances of you calling for an Uber is nil to none! If reconnecting with nature is your thing, Kiattua Adventure Camp, located one hour from Nuuk on an old Viking settlement, is a truly remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. With only 4 teepee style tents (all equipped with the creature comforts of home), it is booked on a totally exclusive basis. You can spend your days kayaking, trout fishing, catching Arctic Char with your bare hands, taking a boat ride into the Nuuk Fjords, standing on an ice flake and swimming in the Arctic sea dressed in a survival suit., visiting an Inuit family settlement or just enjoying your meals cooked by your chef, Rune Collin – who, in a former life, used to work in a Michelin star restaurant in Copenhagen, but yearned for a simpler life and returned to his roots. Kiattua is only operational from June to mid- September so please hone your hunter & gathering skills accordingly!


My Sky Stylist, Regina Caridi, the owner of Cesare + Lili boutiques, highly recommends the oversized cotton Kerisma open-air sweater as the most versatile accessory you can have in your travel wardrobe—it’s heavy enough to wear on the plane to keep you warm(and one less thing to pack). It’s light enough to wear on the beach as a cool cover-up. It’s dressy enough to wear out to dinner –pair it with Ipanema’s new embroidered support flip flops and you’re good to go. Who said style is not synonymous with function!

Contact me for all inquires…The devil is in the details, after all!