About gbooks

Our luxury travel service puts the ultimate touch on Journeys reflecting a unique experience of a lifetime; we design Legacy Travel for our clients. Our focus on bespoke Journeys entails more than a creative idea and a few reservations. We hand select our land teams, guides, behind the scenes experts - all who reflect our passion for excellence and personalized service. I’m passionate about travel and unique experiences; interested in meeting local people,studying architecture, discovering and learning as much as possible about every city I visit. I adore Paris, yearn to see more of Africa, a recent visit to Istanbul reminds me that there is much more to see in Turkey. A passage to India allowed me to explore the rich and diverse culture, and I barely scratched the surface of this amazing country. Love to sail, discover music and indigenous food of each region, seek out the best markets and design, and of course dine at the local restaurants. I particularly love roaming Africa, recently explored Argentina and India, which deserve another visit. A devoted Francophile, love all things Parisian, world music, excellent wines & champagne.

Tequila and Treehouses One & Only Mandarina

One & Only Mandarina, we love O&O Resorts, it took me too long to visit the newest Mandarina, in a wild jungle set between the Sierra del Vallejo wooded mountains and the Pacific Ocean, near Punta Mita, Mexico.  The property is located on a gorgeous stretch of coastline in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit area.

Carao, adult pool

Mandarina is a cliff-side resort set in 88 acres of coastal rainforest, there is no bad view. Two beaches, one of which is swimmable all year round, in a protected jetty.  The resort is hidden amid massive primeval palms and the largest tree ferns I’ve ever seen. From my tree house deck, I honestly thought some of the palm fronds had been wired to the treehouse base, they are gargantuan!  The resort in the rainforest is almost invisible from the coastline.

Tree houses and villas are casual yet luxurious, the low-impact buildings have a graceful, contemporary design that utilizes impressive modern architecture and an understated Mexican style. Dark local Cumaru wood, like teak, is used on ceilings and slatted windows, alongside plaster earthen walls and polished concrete floors. Accented with modern comfortable furniture, the artwork and décor are all sourced from local Mexican designers, there is truly an authentic sense of place. The villas are wide open and expansive, some have many stairs to access rooms; the tree houses are all flat and you won’t need to navigate any stairs.

The resort has 104 free-standing villas set either in the treetops or on ocean cliffs, each with its own private plunge pool. Designed for open-air living and to amplify the dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean; floor-to-ceiling glass walls and huge, sliding balcony doors dramatically frame the jungle and the sparkling sapphire sea. The large open rooms include comfortable seating and dining areas, inside and out, double-sink vanities, indoor and outdoor soaking tubs, or showers. The indoor showers could host a party! Some of the villas have spas within, projection rooms, massage rooms, full size professional gyms.

Guests have their own dedicated butler and are shuttled around the grounds by buggy. The excellent staff are warm and accommodating, I didn’t experience any wait time by my butler, and this is probably the only complaint I’ve heard – a wait for a butler. The personal touch was abundant, excellent restaurants, and a long list of on property activities, a stay here is especially delightful for travelers who prefer not to venture too far from the property.

Time with your Tribe. Embark on a family adventure through the wilds of Riviera Nayarit, with curated journeys designed for all-ages enjoyment. Spend your days surfing Sayulita’s waves, hiking to ‘La Abuela, and mastering the art of horseback riding, before enjoying family-friendly dining and a campfire under the stars.

So many choices of activities, but to be clear, you won’t be walking to and from, I was very happy with the beck and call buggy service. High points include the two beaches (the wild Canalan beach is especially lovely), a dip in one of the many infinity pools, a beach horse ride organized by the hotel’s Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club, or a hike through the historic rainforest peppered with petroglyphs. Mountain bikes can be used in the somewhat hilly jungle terrain, there is archery, polo classes, hiking, tree top zip lines, water sports – a plethora of options – one could be active all day if you can wrench yourself from the secluded tree house deck.  A deck amid a wild jungle teeming with melodic and whistling birds and early morning curious Coatimundi critters who may peek in your windows.

The adult only pool Carao, is dramatically tucked into the hillside, on the edge of a jaw dropping cliff. Jaunty loungers line the long decks, shaded by vibrant carrot orange umbrellas. One could pass a day here with a thick book, interrupted only by cooling laps in the elevated pool.

As customary with O&O properties, there is the complimentary KidsOnly club, with a dedicated forest and butterfly farm. A jungle fort offers outdoor time and the arts and crafts looked stimulating and fun. There is also a family pool, near the sandy Jetty beach.

The expansive yet serene spa offers a variety of treatments, from astrology readings to Tata Harper treatments and classic massages. There is also a massage pool, mud bath and a chill-out area overlooking a forest of ancient Higuera trees. 

The resort includes four open-air restaurants and a treetop bar overlooking the ocean. The fine-dining coastal restaurant Carao, offers modern Mexican cuisine in an elegant, contemporary setting. Menus designed and executed by Enrique Olvera, a meal usually begins with fresh ceviche starters and concludes with multiple desserts including homemade cinnamon buñuelos. Dishes include scallop with broccolini tostadas, tender lobster, fresh salads and fruit. The list of mezcals, tequilas, artisanal agave and international wines is particularly impressive.

The more casual Alma restaurant is Mediterranean inspired with a large garden and pool. An open-air, garden-to-plate restaurant helmed by French Mexican executive chef Olivier Deboise, who prepares dishes like epazote raviolis with huitlacoche and almond cheese over two wood-fired ovens, which also produce yummy pizza.

Alma is also the setting for breakfast; guests can order an array of options from enchiladas and chili scrambled eggs to power bowls and waffles. Order a small portion of chiliquilies with scrambled eggs or Huevos Rancheros. Lastly, there is the casual beach side Jetty Beach Club for light Mexican-style lunches, fresh fish is extremely popular.

Several of the private villas boast immense professional kitchens and chef Olivier Deboise can be reserved to prepare a spectacular dinner feast in your villa. Begin with mezcal cocktails on a cliff side deck with soaring Pacific Ocean views, migrate to the open-air dining room and end the evening around the infinity pool with delectable desserts.

Finally: Retreat to the spa. Each of the six treatment rooms are built within a natural volcanic rock garden, the rooms are conical in shape and appear to be small pyramids amid the jungle. It’s another world at the spa. Treatments are inspired by Indigenous and pre-Hispanic cultures and go beyond typical massage offerings: including mud bath treatments, apply a dark mud treatment to your skin at the mud grotto. Let it dry while relaxing on a lounger, then rinse it off under the tropical rain showers, and quiet sessions in the on-site temazcal, experience an age-old ritual that has been part of Mexican culture for a thousand years. The name ‘Temazcal’ originates from a Nahuatl word meaning “house of heat”. This pre-Hispanic cleansing rite took place before and after battles and sport tournaments due to its healing powers. a sweat lodge inspired by the Indigenous cultures of Mexico, boosts detoxification by combining medicinal herbs with steam and heat.

One could spend over a week here with an amazing combination of ocean kayaking, hiking, reading, archery, tennis combined with visits to the spa for the numerous ritual treatments. A marvelous combination of exercise, ocean dips and spa rejuvenation with ancient healings.

The property is situated within easy driving distance of the relaxed beach towns of Sayulita and San Pancho. It’s 20 minutes drive to the charming seaside town of San Francisco, 45 minutes to Punta Mita, and less than an hour to Puerto Vallarta airport.

Highly Recommend!

Why Visit Beverly Hills? The Peninsula Promise

Since the 1950s, Beverly Hills has marketed itself as a high-end shopping paradise and home of the rich and famous, which still rings true today. Beverly Hills may be one of the world’s most glamorous places to live, but it is also a city designed for visitors. High-end tourism is crucial for the city’s legendary hotels, restaurants, shops, galleries, and the beauty, health and wellness services to thrive.

The Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills

We have a few favorite hotels on our dossier of Highly Recommend properties. Like our individual fingerprints, there is a hotel for every taste and need. Do you prefer to stay a bit out of town and hideaway in a Bungalow or is your jam to see and to be seen? Enjoy leisurely strolls and window shop, pop into a cafe for an espresso?

The Peninsula outpost in Beverly Hills offers many options with 195 rooms, including 38 suites and 17 private villas, located in its lush tropical gardens. Gossip has it that one guest so loves the Villas, they’ve stayed for 24 years! Forbes rates it at the ultimate Five Stars.

A Grand Dame of a property providing sophistication and the ultimate in glamour in the city’s swankiest neighborhood. Roll into the circular driveway, sunglasses on and be prepared for fabulous people watching, exceptionally high service and pampering! Purse puppies abound, guests dressed to the nines enjoying the best that life has to offer in Los Angeles! There were whispers of Bill Barr arriving for a noon lunch and book signing.

Set at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire near Canon Drive, just around the corner from the Holy Grail of chic high-end shopping, 20 minutes away to popular museums and 30 minutes to LAX or Burbank airport. Rolls Royce courtesy car for transport within the city limits, what else? There is a jaunty pink Perrier Champagne Citron out front as well, if you prefer to be less seen.

The grand lobby with polished marble floors is a flurry of stylish and well-dressed patrons and locals. You may see royalty and eccentricity milling through, it’s a haven for all temperaments!  The lobby is flanked by the ornate Living Room, where the hotel’s wildly popular afternoon tea is served, come dressed! High Tea is accompanied by a harpist and on Thursday evenings, the room comes alive with a pianist. The Club Bar is a sophisticated chamber clad in dark wood panels made of California birch and deep leather chairs that circle the fireplace. A traditional yet timeless ambiance, reminiscent of an elegant gentleman’s club, if you arrive a wee early, it’s a lovely place to perch while your bags are whisked to your room. A British pair who looked as if they had just dismounted from a Hunt, were sipping G&T’s with their furry four legged friend.

Oh, don’t miss the fine-dining Belvedere Restaurant, which features a beautiful courtyard terrace. An elegant European Brasserie offering a blend of art and cuisine in a classic French-country aesthetic steeped in Southern California luxury. Here, diners are immersed in a creative experience surrounded by magnificent artwork while relishing the artistically plated cuisine, and the high fashion of their loyal patrons featured in the illustrations on the restaurant’s menus. The Belvedere truly embodies the essence of its meaning, “beautiful view.”

Advice: pace yourself as it’s easy to overindulge. When I dine with my hoteliers, they never want to deny you any delicacy! Champers at lunch is de riguer, and oh, you must try the Caviar and Lobster flatbread, do nosh on these cheese sticks, they are heavenly – morphs into the Charred Caesar with Salmon, it must not be missed – and of course, dessert…Ms. Books? Everything Chocolate or a classic Grand Marnier Soufflé?

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here; every dish is skillfully prepared with local produce – apart from the exceptional Dover Sole, which is flown in fresh every day from the UK. Hotel guests and Beverly Hills residents alike enjoy weekend revelry with the Bubbles & Bells Free-flow Champagne Brunch.

By nightfall, if you can rouse from the food coma, the Roof Garden is a lush casual spot for a less filling meal. Accented by its iconic yellow and white striped umbrellas, it’s a favorite among area residents and hotel guests alike.

Rooms, Suites, and Villas. The expansive rooms are all nattily appointed in a chic European style, with elegant furnishings and canopy beds draped in pastel or floral-printed fabrics. All have French windows that open onto a garden or city view, but the best come with private patios and hot tubs. The large bathrooms feature original pink marble from Greece and plenty of smart touches, such as monogrammed towels and Oscar de la Renta toiletries. The pink marble originates from the hometown of the owner. Villas are surrounded by lush gardens and range in size from a studio to the two-story Peninsula Villa which feels like a luxurious residence.

At check in, I was escorted to a gorgeous suite with petite Juliet balcony, in pretty pastels and colorful touches of pinks, creams, blues and greens, Happy as a clam at the pool, I was shaken out of my sun slumber by a text from my dear rep, Jake: Ms. Books, we had a cancel in the glammy Pink Suite you swooned over, would you like us to move you? Just like that, Lickety Split to pack up the laptop and mosey to the sumptuous Grand Deluxe Pink Suite. ‘Pink,’ ‘Blue’ and ‘Silver’ Suites, are some of the grandest suites at The Peninsula Beverly Hills. The ‘Pink Suite,’ with its hues of deep rose and elegant Dior grey, is accented by crisp white wainscoting, gold and silver-leaf. My kitchen was swoon worthy, although I had no intention of meal preparation, the fridge would keep the Champers chilled. A spacious terrace with loungers and a massive dining table for late afternoon tea or in my case, perfect for al fresco brekkie. I drooled over this brilliant 2250 square feet suite of tailored raspberry walls – a deep rose suite with one bedroom, a kitchen, dining room and two bathrooms! One bathroom the size of an average living room. In The Pink Indeed!

The Peninsula Beverly Hills made staying in a suite even sweeter! Guests who book one of the hotel’s elegant suites are offered the complimentary use of a luxury BMW for the length of their stay. 

Kiddos coming along? Family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. An experience that can be added onto any room reservation, the Camp Peninsula Journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away to your luxurious guest-room where a charming teepee awaits.

Life Live Well at The Peninsula Spa. Named one of the Top 10 Spas worldwide by readers of SpaFinder, the Peninsula Spa incorporates highly effective treatments with the finest therapists and products.

Pool Cabanas are available for day use.  Surrounded by panoramic views of the Los Angeles and Century City skyline, The Peninsula Beverly Hills’ 60-foot outdoor rooftop pool and hot tub is an idyllic spot for hotel guests to relax and cool down in true Peninsula style.

Proper indulgence at the rooftop pool. Luxury Relax & Revive poolside in a spacious cabana with much needed pampering. Bask in the sun, with rejuvenating reflexology, a mani-pedi, gourmet dining and panoramic city views. Based on availability Wednesday and Thursday for glam grooming.

The Peninsula Hotel Spa Beverly Hills

Old school attention to service, and the recent upgrades include state of the art technology. Friendly professional staff, I ask questions everywhere! My room attendant has worked there for over ten years mentioning how employees are well treated.  Bill, the room manager escorted me to my suite, regaled with a cheerful history of the hotel, he’s been there for over 20 years. Peninsula Love is abundant, to me, that is a defining character of a brand and a hotel.

Oh, did I mention my monogrammed Pillowcase? It occurred to me to stay for 24 years!

Peninsula Pets!

Highly Recommend for luxurious comfort, serious shopping, fine dining and the ultimate in people watching – small gift shop with glorious hats if you are the Star and need to be undercover!