Ana Palza – Bolivian Haute Couture

Pandemic Travel Activities, in all the travel webinars I’ve appreciated, I never expected a webinar on Bolivian Haute Couture. When one thinks of Bolivia, movie buffs may remember the masked bandits Butch Cassidy and his partner The Sundance Kid who robbed banks and had their final shoot out and are buried in the cemetery in San Vicente. Another action hero, James Bond, finds himself in Bolivia in Quantum of Solace, the quintessentially suave British spy confronts his arch nemesis, who planned to take control of the country’s water supply.

I’ve always wanted to visit Bolivia, a country brimming with diverse travel options: The Amazon, the soaring Andean peaks, and stay in a hotel made entirely from salt at Uyuni, in the incredible bright white salt flats of Bolivia. In spite of a relatively small population, Bolivia is culturally diverse with three official languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.

With over 50% of the population indigenous, Bolivia has the least changing population on the continent. As such, it offers an excellent opportunity to view the remnants of ancient civilization embodied in life today as well as in the old Colonial cities, traditional villages and occasional ruins scattered across the landscape. Bespoke travel Bolivia will enable you to take the best of Bolivia’s highlights. A land of extremes, the country is an adventurers dream – but you needn’t be a hardened adventurer to enjoy luxury travel Bolivia.

We have a cracker jack team to create a bespoke Journey when you are ready to escape!

But back to Bolivian Haute Couture, the webinar was an interview with renowned Bolivian jewelry & clothing designer, Ana Palza. She designs beautiful jewelry and traditional outfits for cholitas, Andean women who have maintained their ancestry through culture and tradition.  Creating haute couture in Paris.

Cholita fashion, Bolivia

Ana Palza was born in La Paz and raised by an American mother who taught her to cherish and celebrate all that is unique about Bolivia. As a child, she would accompany her mother to the market; where she learned to see beauty in the mountains of ají in their brilliant reds and yellows, as well as to appreciate the fragrant Bolivian herbs like quirquiña. To this day, Ana’s biggest inspiration comes from walking through the streets of La Paz.

An amazing highlight of her career, one of Ana’s recent collections of haute couture was presented by eight cholitas at the Cartier Foundation for Modern Art in Paris, France. For the first time, indigenous Bolivian women from the Aymara community modeled their traditional Bolivian attire in Paris, in the capital of haute couture. Ana, who makes jewelry and clothes for mujeres de pollera, accompanied the cholita models to Paris for the three-day event. In an event space designed by famed Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani – whose cholets in El Alto have gained worldwide acclaim as of late. The cholita, or the mujer de pollera, is an iconic representation of Bolivia and La Paz. For Ana, her work is not only about designing jewelry and clothing, but also empowering the very women she designs for.

She has presented her designs in fashion shows across Bolivia and has sold her collection internationally. Her work has also been featured in German documentaries.

Cholita fashion, Bolivia

In a time of great social discord in Bolivia, Ana Palza pioneered the creation of jewelry meant for the Bolivian woman – regardless of class, race or background. Her work draws on rich historical and ancestral motifs, integrating the past with the present to create a product that is both dynamic and authentically Bolivian. She bridges two cultures, honoring the past while creating haute couture for the indigenous woman of today.

Palza, who has created jewelry for 19 years, began to focus on cholita fashion about five years ago. She noted that most jewelry was too expensive to be worn by participants in La Paz’s extravagant Gran Poder – pieces were frequently stolen during the wildly chaotic celebration. Palza wanted to create a line of affordable but elegant jewelry. So instead of using gold or silver, she created pieces using pearls, finding inspiration from the style of the cholitas. Palza then started making clothes after realizing that there were no traditional cholita wedding gowns.

The first thing you notice in Ana Palza’s design studio, Disenos Ana Palza, are the mannequins adorned in colorful cholita dress, outfitted with the iconic bowler hat, plush petticoats, shawl and huge decorative jewelry.

“It wasn’t too long ago when Cholitas would have been shamed for the way they dressed. They were discriminated against in their education, job opportunities and were even banned from certain parts of the city. Now, Cholita fashion is huge and even non-indigenous Bolivians are taking part, like me.” Ana participates regularly with the numerous fashion shows in La Paz, featuring solely Cholita dress. But, the most significant event in Cholita Fashion is Gran Poder, a two week long Christian religious celebration observed by the indigenous community in La Paz.

Traditional Bolivian Women

An important reason why Cholita fashion has become a movement in Bolivia, was the presidential election in 2005 when Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president was elected for the first time. His two terms have ushered in pride for Bolivian roots and reduced social injustice. The president was elected for a third term on January 22, 2016 (historically only two, five-year terms have been legal).

The firm we work with is proud to collaborate with these inspiring cholitas and can organize visits to Ana´s atelier providing a unique and memorable experience.

Cholita fashion, Bolivia

Highlights of Bolivia – Seven days
Marvel at the mesmerizing white expanse of the Salt flats of Uyuni, a photographer’s paradise.
Cruise to the Sun Island on Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the Incas.
Ride La Paz’s cable car network for a unique perspective on the burgeoning capital.
The landscapes and vistas in Bolivia are truly matchless. This landlocked Andean nation boasts some of the most extreme, diverse topographies on the planet. At a dizzying 11,975 feet above sea level, snow-capped mountains frame La Paz. Pristine Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is so grand it almost looks like an ocean from its shores. The Salar de Uyuni is iconic in its otherworldly splendor. Bolivia’s rusticity makes it a destination best suited to seasoned travelers, but the rewards are plentiful for those with a sense of adventure. Highlights of Bolivia, takes you through Bolivia’s most incredible sights and is designed to take your breath away. Visit the lush Yungas, descending from snow-capped mountains to tropical climes in a day trip from La Paz.

Ana Palza dancing

Two years ago, Ana started Disenos Ana Palza. “We are the only option available in Cholita fashion in the mid-tier price range. But, I know that because we have been successful people will soon start to copy our model. Our competitive advantage is our styles. We mix today’s Cholita fashion with older indigenous styles and modern western flairs. For example, this year our fish and coin jewelry has been very popular.”

Ana Palza, Bolivia

Hotel Bel Air and Beverly Hills Hotel – Sanity Staycation!

Hungering for human connection and needing fresh outlooks from home gardens, may I suggest the private suites and bungalows at Hotel Bel Air and Beverly Hills Hotel? Let me share a hospitality secret: The Dorchester Collection properties are one of the few firms who have retained and paid their entire staff, your first escape should not be to a downsized property which is now trying to open up, it results in too many people wearing too many hats… i.e. is the bellman also subbing as a housekeeper? Social Distancing was invented here long before the pandemic Bungalows and Suites ooze privacy and seclusion.

Beverly Hills Hotel Pool

Guaranteed five-star ambience and in a sheltered environment, a stay is enhanced with our Diamond Club Membership amenities. Guaranteed one category upgrade at time of booking for rooms, one category upgraded at time of arrival for junior suites (subject to availability). $100 hotel credit per stay for suites. Daily Full breakfast for two.

Hotel Bel Air Pool

Just weeks before the pandemic closures, I had business and client meetings in Beverly Hills and during that all too brief superb sojourn, I plotted a Hotel Lifestyle for myself. One of my dearest local clients strolled across the bridge over Swan Lake at the Hotel Bel Air, she exclaimed: I’ve crossed into the portal of happiness and enchantment, relaxation and calm! We chatted this morning and agreed the cozy private booths at Wolfgang Puck could easily be safe for a long evening of scrumptious food and rose bubbly. Or, assuming I stay in my sumptuous pool suite, we could carefully catch up across the loungers under the swaying palms.

Presidential Suite Hotel bel Air Private pool
Bungalow Bath Beverly Hills Hotel

Staycation – Just a short distance from breathtaking mountain ranges and sun-drenched beaches, it’s the ideal destination when you need a change of scenery and to take a break from it all. Whether you prefer the glamour and glitz of The Beverly Hills Hotel or the exclusivity of Hotel Bel-Air, both properties feature luxurious accommodations steeped in comfort and privacy. Acres of gardens, many suites with private pools, seclusion in plush surroundings.

Secluded dining at The Beverly Hills Hotel

Dorchester Collection Let us look after your safety – a long list of safety procedures for your stay. https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/looking-after-your-safety/

An hour south by air to the tiny, ease in, ease out, Burbank Airport and you always guaranteed sunshine. One of the most luxurious, if not the most iconic 5-star luxury hotels in Los Angeles – the home of royalty past and present is royally perched on Sunset Boulevard. The Beverly Hills Hotel has years of narrative legends are stored in the vaults, most will tell you a side street is the main entrance – no bungalow visitor of importance ever strolls the iconic red-carpet hotel entrance. Power lunches or al fresco poolside dining on a pink lounger, 80-year-old palm trees swaying gracefully in the background. Suites with patios, enjoy a mini sunbath outdoors. The rooms are flooded with sunshine and plush furnishings. Bathrooms are old school, i.e. huge stylish spaces with enough room to practice your Oscar speech in front of the wall of mirrors. Comfort comes in the form of huge fluffy towels, a beautifully deep soaking tub and separate shower. Your suite is surrounded by twelve acres of tropical gardens and exotic flowers. The famed bungalows, if these walls could talk! Originally added to the gardens for families who wanted to bring their own staff, the bungalows now celebrate a legendary heritage. Sounds like a familiar situation, pack the kiddos, reject the daily routines and give everyone a reason to celebrate being alive and well.

Dessert Beverly Hills Hotel

The West Coast sisters in the Dorchester Collection of lovely hotels reside in a small pocket of Beverly Hills – like sisters, they each exude unique personalities. I happened to visit both in February. Equally enjoy them for innumerable reasons.


Hotel Bel-Air, despite the close proximity to downtown Beverly Hills shopping and culture, is surrounded by twelve acres of lush gardens and tucked into a pocket-sized canyon. Amid towering palm and silver leafed eucalyptus trees, the Spanish Colonial design is subtle and elegant. Suites with garden patios, private plunge pools are enchanting. Move up to the hillside rooms and relish the sweeping views of the canyon from your secluded plunge pool and deck. Amid towering palm and silver leafed eucalyptus trees, the Spanish Colonial design is subtle and elegant. A hidden sanctuary amongst the wooded hills, untouched by the clamor of life beyond the gates of Bel-Air. The most quintessentially private and exclusive hotel, delivering low-key elegance since 1946. Suites with garden patios, private plunge pools are enchanting. Move up to the canyon rooms and relish the sweeping views of the canyon from your secluded plunge pool and deck. On my last visit, yes, I escape here as often as possible, a bit of spring mist kept the fireplace in my suite crackling most of the day, a cozy enclave where I cocooned and worked in between meals with my clients.

The Dorchester team is passionate about creating the exceptional moments that turn into lasting memories. To add a special touch to your stay, staff can prepare a bespoke picnic basket, bring the spa to you with an indulgent bath or even give you the ingredients to mix up your own cocktails. This is your chance to escape from it all, without ever leaving the hotel. All experiences can be booked prior to arrival or arranged anytime during your stay.

A brief menu of personal individually priced options: Let us bring the bar to you with everything you need to shake up your own cocktails. It’s a chance to channel your inner mixologist and create our signature Pepino’s Revenge. Served alongside fresh house-made tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole. Picnic on your Patio – Experience the delight of dining al fresco with a delicious picnic from Wolfgang Puck on your private guestroom patio. Our menu includes your choiceof a bottle of white wine or champagne, artisanal cheese and charcuterie, a Mediterranean mezze platter, Santa Monica farmers’ market crudités, plus a selection of sandwiches and sweet treats.
Yoga in your room – For a welcome dose of workout motivation,we’ll bring yoga to your room at any time that suits. Fresh juice and healthy snacks are the perfect post-yoga treat.
All employees and guests are required to wear face masks or face coverings and maintain a minimum of 6-feet distance when interacting with anyone while on property. If you need a face mask, the hotel will provide them upon request.

To comply with social distancing guidelines, the following are open with limited occupancy: Polo Lounge, The Cabana Cafe, The Beverly Hills Hotel pool, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, the Hotel Bel-Air spa and the Hotel Bel-Air pool.

Private pool at Beverly Hills Hotel Bungalow

This is an especially stressful time, why not indulge in pampering and escape from the frenzy? Hotel Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel, two scrumptious properties, Five Star Luxury! Consider a dash away to the extraordinary, far from typical, Dorchester Sister hotels. A quick bay area/Burbank or LAX flight, the perfect mini escape, disappear and catch your breath for a few days, order in, hole up in a bungalow or suite or pony up for the grand Presidential Suite with pool, avoid the hysteria in superb comfort!

Wolfgang Puck restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air | Dorchester Collection
Wolfgang Puck, Hotel Bel air
Wolfgang Puck restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air | Dorchester Collection
Social Distancing has always been in place at Hotel Bel Air!

I am actually considering a partial hotel lifestyle, once we enter into ‘normal’ life again. A la Heloise, Elaine Stritch and Howard Hughes, who had a fondness for Bungalow 3 at The Beverly Hills Hotel, a 30-year fondness, in fact!

Call us for all the generous amenities bestowed! Admit it, you need and deserve a papering safe escape!

Sunday Brunch for two at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
Swan Lake Hotel Bel Air