A Love Letter to Paris, in Photos

I have never seen Paris look more beautiful. I was lucky enough to spend two days in Paris after the annual ILTM conference in Cannes, staying at the INCREDIBLE Mandarin Oriental, my new favorite place to stay. I am so glad I made the trip happen - it was a highlight of my entire year and I can't wait to get back. Go now - eat, drink, celebrate, and walk the streets. It is absolute perfection. Paris, Je T'aime.

The Dolder Grand in Zurich

I started this blog years ago because of an obsessive love I had for great hotels. The Dolder Grand, located in the hills above Zurich, Switzerland, is one of the GREAT ones. It reopened in 2008 after no Swiss franc was spared for its renovation and restoration. Famed architect Norman Foster designed two wings surrounding the historic main building.

The artwork is provocative...and FAMOUS - don't miss the Warhol above the check-in desk. The award-winning spa (most recently Virtuoso's Best Spa winner) is enormous and stunning. Basically, this place is another world. It's an easy "Dolderbahn" ride into the center of Zurich but you won't want to leave once you're here.

Scottsdale Sunset

The Sanctuary on Camelback

The Sanctuary on Camelback

I was lucky to spend nearly two weeks at home in Scottsdale over Christmas. I hadn't spent that much time at home in almost two years, and it made me realize how much I miss it. Scottsdale is known for its hotels, spas, hikes, sunshine, golf courses, culture of healthiness, and mountain views - all things I love (ok, not golf). But for me, there's a memory on every street corner, the desert air is actually healing, and life just feels...easier.

March is the most magical time in Scottsdale - for a couple of weeks, the air smells like perfume because of the orange blossoms blooming. It's like a sunny, suburban eden. And if you find yourself in Scottsdale, head to The Sanctuary hotel on Camelback Mountain to watch the sunset. It's pretty magical too.

The Westbury Hotel, Dublin

I took exactly one photo of The Westbury Hotel, which was my home for a week while working in Dublin. And it was the exterior shot! Oops.

I've stayed at this property before and loved it. I loved it again this time. The location is absolutely perfect - just off Grafton Street, so right in the middle of it all, but removed so it's super quiet. The second-floor lobby is gorgeous and relaxing (I loved sitting by the fireplace). The breakfast was good to great, especially the option to order a green juice. And the staff is top-notch - just really wonderful people. My room was small, but super comfortable and nice. When I'd arrive back after long days of shooting, it was just such a lovely, enveloping feeling.

Two things I didn't love: the view from my room was not much to look at (sort of industrial which was surprising because the area is so lovely) and the gym was either lackluster or terrible, depending on how much of a fitness fanatic you are. For me, the equipment was old, it was small and it just wasn't a pleasant place to work out.

But no hotel is perfect and those two things were very minor. I really felt like this was my home away from home in Dublin.

Happy, Sunny Fort Lauderdale

On a recent trip, on assignment for National Geographic, I only planned a short stop in Fort Lauderdale. BAD MOVE.

If you go, plan on at least 2 nights! The main street, Las Olas Blvd, is especially charming and really unlike so many main streets in towns I've visited around the world - there was only one chain (Cheesecake Factory, which let's be honest...their giant hunks of cheesecake ARE delicious) and the rest was unique, local restaurants and shops.

Don't miss:

  • A sunset catamaran tour with Tropical Sailing 
  • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens - whimsical and fun (you have to go on the walking tour to see the inside of the house but it's great!)
  • Drive 10 miles north to Butterfly World, especially if you have kids.
  • Strolling Las Olas Blvd - I loved Lobster Bar Sea Grille for lunch, but also check out La Bonne Crepe or Las Olas Wine Cafe tucked away from the street for a pre-dinner drink
  • Walking the Riverwalk
  • At least driving by the exterior of Cinema Paradiso - they show great films and play host to the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
  • A walk on the beach, which used to be home to the craziest spring break in America
  • Check out all-suite hotel Il Lugano if you want to feel at home (washer/dryer & kitchen in every suite!)

I've shared more of own photos below. And if you're interested, here's my final piece for NatGeo on what I discovered: Why I Love Fort Lauderdale

Sunset on Fort LauderdaleCruising the Intracoastal on catamaran tour New friends at Butterfly WorldBeautiful Las Olas Blvd Welcome to Las Olas Inside Lobster Bar Sea GrilleBeach strollin' Cinema ParadisoView from my room at Il LuganoAll about the details at Bonnet House