Suitcase at the front door has always been my mantra. Written before our current Shelter in Place Order in the Bay Area. We still have quite a few trips in a state of hold for summer – the airlines are never friendly about cancels, i.e. they will provide vouchers, but never refunds, hotels have lenient cancel policies, we are watching day by day. I’m the eternal, hopeful, flute glass overfilled optimist, always have been!
This is the time of year when our clients are jetting off to Sakura – Cherry Blossom Season in Japan. Maybe a few last runs on wintery slopes and flying south to the enticing sun and surf in Punta Mita or Cabo for spring break. In a matter of ten weeks our Journey has been completely disrupted, the world as we know it has been upended. The climate changes every minute; however, we hope that once we get to the other side, travelers may be comfortable thinking about a fling at small resorts with private Cabanas and Villas – baby steps to isolate in luxury. Day by day.
You might consider this path. Two weeks ago, before the travel edict, I embarked at the Top – Hotel Bel Air and the Beverly Hills Hotel, with numerous isolated bungalows and suites. Our Diamond Club Membership assures best of stay amenities ! https://www.gwenbooks.com/2020/03/state-of-emergency-why-not-stay-awhile/
Moving north up the California coast from Beverly Hills.
Malibu Beach Inn – while it doesn’t offer bungalows, the sea air, delicious farm to table dining and beach walks are guaranteed to provide a stress-free escape. I’ve stayed several times and absolutely adore this sweet property. The Northwest corner room has divine views, one-bedroom suite is a bit larger, but all rooms are simply scrumptious – take me to the beach! If you drive, make it a coastal drive from the bay area and stop in Ojai and Montecito.
Ojai Valley Inn – Bound to be warm in April/May, I recall 85-degree days at the annual Tennis Tournament during my childhood, the oldest Tennis Tournament in the U.S. We were released from Catholic girls school if we volunteered to squeeze and serve orange juice – this will reveal my birthdate, but, I believe age is in the mind…we watched the awesome Arthur Ashe, swooned over the VV good-looking and excellent player, Charlie Passarelle and envied Billie Jean Moffitt King’s splendid shots and basked in 80-degree weather. The Ojai Valley Inn has numerous cottages, a private villa and great golf and an innovative Farmhouse program. https://www.gwenbooks.com/2019/05/ojai-valley-inn-classes/
Montecito – Santa Barbara. Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, an enchanting escape, the divine combination of secluded garden casitas and the Coral Casino pool complex will surely suffice on a toasty sunny day. Oh, and the recently opened Ty Warner Villa – unique beachfront hideaway! Within the main building, we recently reserved the best ocean view rooms, 702 and 703. Our darling British clients raved about the comfort and the views, ‘brilliant and immensely happy’ was their actual description! Tucked between the Pacific and the Santa Ynez Mountains, a historic hideaway on the American Riviera. Set within 22 lush acres, woven with secluded courtyards, fountains and sun-dappled, red-brick pathways lit by gas lanterns, our Spanish Colonial villas and bungalows invoke the same casual glamour that first delighted Hollywood’s power players in the 1930. Particular suites include access to the famed Coral Casino Club. Think South of France setting, take a dip in one of the largest hotel swimming pools in the world – or just sunbathe beside it, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands from the second-story, peninsula sundeck. Sip a cocktail up in the Crow’s Nest, enjoy a soak in the oceanfront whirlpool, then walk down to Butterfly Beach through the Club’s private, gated stairway.
Coastal escape just south of Carmel, Post Ranch Inn. Extraordinary setting, small and intimate – clients stayed last week: We had a wonderful weekend at Post Ranch. Thank you for your help in organizing a perfect escape. We called it our “Ocean House West,” since it reminded of us our annual summer stay at Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI.
South of Los Angeles in Rancho Santa Fe, we absolutely adore Rancho Valencia. Perfectly isolated casitas with outdoor fireplace, private patios, a blissful oasis in usually warm weather! Who knew such an indulgence existed, just an hour flight away and a few miles from the surf and sandy beach? But why leave when you have the amenities of a Forbes Five Star Resort? Clients have raved about Rancho Valencia Resort, I needed to mosey down the sunny coast and see for myself. In the cozy hamlet of Rancho Santa Fe, exactly 32 minutes from the San Diego airport, Rancho Valencia is tucked into a canyon on 40 manicured acres of gentle undulating hills, citrus trees and tropical jungle landscaping. I loved my visit, an oasis! .https://www.gwenbooks.com/2019/06/staycation-rancho-valencia-resort-for-serious-consideration/
Moving to Utah – Our absolute favorite, Amangiri. In the desert, fly private or drive and revel in the never ending vistas of the desert expanse surrounding one of the most gorgeous properties in the universe! Amangiri is a remote hideaway tucked within the luminous canyons of the American Southwest. Located in a protected valley with sweeping views, the resort offers both adrenaline-fueled adventure and a peaceful retreat. Set in the heart of the Grand Circle, the largest concentration of national parks in the United States, Amangiri is well located for explorations of the region’s rugged beauty. Panoramas stretch across the 810-acre estate. Amangiri’s geometric planes are hued with ocher, yellow and pink to blend with the cliff curve it sits within. Each Suite features a large living area that opens onto a terrace offering views that change color by the hour. Aman will add luxury tent accommodations to its Amangiri resort in Utah this April. Camp Sarika will have 10 ‘tented pavilions’ fully contained in 135 acres of wilderness. Located a five-minute drive from the resort in Canyon Point. The Camp Sarika accommodations will include five one-bedroom units and five two-bedroom units, with each tent outfitted with a living area, dining area, bar, terrace, fire pit and private heated plunge pool. One-bedroom tented pavilions will span 1,883 square feet, while two-bedroom tented pavilions will cover 2,820 square feet. Camp Sarika’s main pavilion will house a restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating. The venue’s culinary offerings will change daily, with the menu showcasing local produce and both vegan and vegetarian options. Restaurant access will be reserved for camp guests during the day, though guests staying at Amangiri will be able to opt for dinner at Camp Sarika with advance booking.
Mexico – multiple options for private Villas on the beach.
Rosewood Las Ventanas has many private villas on the beach, some of the finest in Cabo – however, no ocean swimming here. https://www.gwenbooks.com/2016/10/las-ventanas-al-paraiso-rosewood-resort/
One & Only Palmilla has two splendid private Villas – we frequently reserve Villa Cortez and it can sleep about 8 + guests. Cocoon here with private pool and beach – never see another soul! https://www.gwenbooks.com/2016/10/one-only-palmilla-san-jose-del-cabo/
Auberge Las Ventas has many Bungalow private options, and delicious fresh dining. And one of the most congenial dedicated GM’s in the industry, Marc Rodriguez – he kept us alive during hurricane Newton! Set at the very tip of the Baja Peninsula, between two massive bluffs, and only a few miles from Cabo San Lucas, Esperanza provides stunning views of both the Sea of Cortez and Punta Ballena – Whale Point – lounge in winter and tally the humpback’s passing and breaching. https://www.gwenbooks.com/2016/11/esperanza-an-auberge-resort/https://www.gwenbooks.com/2013/04/welcome-esperanza-resort-cabo-san-lucas/
Four Seasons Los Cabos Resort at Costa Palmas – Villas aren’t finished yet, however the beach front rooms are very private. From my beach lounger under a massive white umbrella, the view of the Sea of Cortez was enhanced by the enveloping backdrop of the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range and a few small islands off in the distance. In the winter, a breeze blows most days, keeping you cool and creating a few waves in the sea. Spring and summer, the breeze dissipates, which might make the days feel a bit warmer. It was the perfect combination for endless days of chaise reading. Clients who recently returned enjoyed the golf course and loved dining at Limon.
Punta Mita – Four Seasons Resort at Punta Mita has many private suite and villa options – our clients love it here and we reserve frequently. Another amazing GM, I can confirm some GM’s don’t have the hospitality gene – but John O’Sullivan who has opened many Four Seasons properties and steers the tiller in Punta Mita and other resorts – oozes hospitality! With a superb team, paradise is achieved in Punta Mita! The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is a luxurious family-friendly resort hotel with excellent facilities on a 1,500-acre nature reserve on the northern tip of Bahia de Banderas, one of the world’s largest natural bays. Fringed by palms, sandy beaches and a backdrop of jungle clad mountains. Paradise Indeed!
Next week on our radar:
Inn at Five Graces, Santa Fe, NM, a charmer! https://www.gwenbooks.com/2018/05/inn-of-the-five-graces-santa-fe-new-mexico/Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana – Ultimate Dude Ranch https://www.gwenbooks.com/2018/10/summer-at-the-ranch-at-rock-creek/
Triple Creek Ranch, Montana, Adult Dude Ranch–
AND – for the definitive sanctuary, we have multiple VV private self-contained villas in Aspen, and a few other high-touch properties in relatively remote locations at Santa Fe, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Big Sky and The Bahamas, etc. as safe havens. Truly remote and isolated.
I am still the evangelist for Egypt & Jordan, my enchanting Journey will pick up again soon, when it’s safe to fly across the world in comfort!.
Stay well, there is an enormous world to discover and we are here to help you plot and curate the ultimate Journey! I still believe if you introduce your children to other cultures, we may achieve world peace. Travel broadens the horizons, nourishes the soul and truly provides a magical global mosaic.
Useful sites for staying tuned in to Corona Virus: