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.

Local Food Dining – Le Hibou Blanc, Megève 

1:00 pm Saturday June 16.

Apparently, Le Hibou Blanc has a sister restaurant in Paris, The Owl Cafe in the Odeon district. My needs were quite simple, explore the ancient medieval village, people watch, savor an authentic bistro lunch. Enthusiastic World Cup cheers emanated from the bar tv next door, Le Hibou Blanc, offered al fresco dining overlooking the lively medieval square. The bistro is surrounded by the old districts and narrow streets of the village and its cool little hidden alleyways.

Le Hibou Blanc, Megève

Sun or shadow, Madame?  Shadow, please!  Comfy bench seating padded by sheep skin, it was the perfect location for people watching and traditional bistro lunch. Wine, oui!

A bustling Saturday lunch scene, multi-generation tables, grandparents not minding the grandkids or the petite dog under the table. Each passing chien responded to a barked greeting. At a table across from me, a young family dined with their daughter who played with a put-together pony corral; I heard a whinny of ponies before I noticed her; I honestly thought a horse was in the square, she was completely absorbed in her make-believe world. I didn’t see a single cell phone zombie, which was very refreshing!

Le Hibou Blanc, Megève. Shadow seating

The ancient church, Eglise Saint-Jean Baptiste, in the village centre, dates to the 12th century, the oldest parts date from 13th century and its main wooden door from 1692. It’s blanketed under scaffolding, but the pealing bells chimed every thirty minutes as the world passed by: Alpine bike riders fresh from conquering the steep mountain paths, locals gossiping and tourists checking out menus.

Avocado halves dribbled with mustard and lemon vinaigrette. Paillard de Poulet, seasonal green beans, warm baguette, and un café express, of course.

Avocado halves dribbled with mustard and lemon vinaigrette. Le Hibou Blanc, Megève

Paillard de Poulet. Le Hibou Blanc, Megève.

Le Hibou Blanc, Megève

Le Hibou Blanc, Megève

Le Hibou Blanc, Megève

 

Le Hibou Blanc,  18 rue Charles Feige, Megève

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

For serious consideration, are you aware that studies indicate that modifying your routine to include mental breaks will increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity? Consider an escape to relieve you of cerebral congestion!  Recent getaway for a few days of client meetings in Beverly Hills landed me at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on Doheny Drive.

Quick access from LAX, I promised a poolside lunch to longtime friends who insisted on picking me up at the airport, treading those traffic lanes truly deserves a special lunch!

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills Lobby Floral Power

We arrived to a busy Sunday afternoon crowd, this property seems to be very popular with locals for lunch. Early check in was offered, well done Four Seasons! My lovely light filled suite had a wrap around balcony and French doors to let in the sunshine! All good…we moseyed down to the pool distracted by the spectacular floral display in the lobby.

Internationally celebrated floral designer Jeff Leatham has returned to his original roots in Los Angeles, from Four Seasons George V in Paris, where he spent 16 years dazzling Parisian guests. His style and artistic sensibilities are incomparable, his floral displays are instantly recognizable and breathtaking! In 2014, the French government bestowed Leatham with one of their most distinguished titles: Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters, for his outstanding contribution to the culture of Paris.

I digress, back to our lunch adventure – arriving at the pool, I was surprised to find the ‘pool restaurant’ wasn’t really at the pool, it was near the pool, however the table-side reservation would be in a garden alcove near the pool…I was confused as I had called the restaurant to specify poolside. The very affable hostess, inquired: Ms. Books would you like us to set a table in a pool cabana? Hmm, why yes, that would be perfect, how long will that be? Five minutes, Ms. Books. We trailed behind the hostess, servers and our table to the cabana. The restaurant staff literally carried a table and chairs to our own private cabana! My friends gave me the look – the look that says we follow you on social media, we see how you travel…my immediate response: we are at a Four Seasons property, they unravel dilemmas! When we discovered there wasn’t a table at the pool, the extremely well trained Four Seasons staff solved a problem and made this guest very happy…they did not know I was on a site inspection trip, this is typical Four Seasons service! Champagne all around! It’s the little touches that make a property special.

There is a row of cabanas at the pool for snoozing and dining. The Four Seasons doesn’t let a city space, define its décor, they’ve created a tranquil rooftop oasis.

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Of course, everyone who traipsed by our cabana peeked in looking for celebrities, sadly for them, it was merely high school girlfriends catching up and utterly delighted with our decadent Cabana lunch!

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills a Tranquil Oasis

There are two Four Seasons in the Beverly Hills area, the other property is literally downtown near Rodeo Drive. More on that property soon. The gardens here are spectacular, a little sanctuary in the midst of Los Angeles, water features add a sense of tranquility to the spacious lawns and lush shrubbery. From sun-filled guest rooms featuring private step out balconies to award winning see-and-be-seen dining, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is a city icon, buzzing with energy and excitement.

The property is well known for celebrity sightings, press junkets and has a history as a power lunch location. Located in a quiet residential area which is great for morning walks, it’s only a five-minute drive to the chic Rodeo Drive shopping. There are 285 rooms including 98 suites, I liked the rooms on the back side of the property with balconies. L.A. rooms should always have a balcony or French doors, it’s rarely cold here, we want to soak up that So Cal sunshine!  High-tech features (temperature control and in-room dining via iPad) and on-demand movies. Entry-level rooms are big for LA standards.  Open-air 24-hour fitness facility with cardio machines, weights, pulley. Full-service spa and nail salon on the premises. Breakfast and muffins provided in the lobby every morning

Huge bathrooms with sunken tubs, as you know if I can drown in a tub, I’m happy; these tubs definitely provide the perfect soak!

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills Suite

Relaxed luxury – my beautiful suite was decorated in soothing tones of glossy black doors, pale gray walls, with an emphasis of whites and metallic accents, very restful in the frenetic LA atmosphere.

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills Gym outside access!

One unique feature in development is the Wellness Rooms near the spa. The rooms are designed in partnership with Delos, with the creation of five wellness-themed guest rooms and two suites that aim to optimize guests’ physical and emotional well-being while travelling. Located on the fourth floor Spa level, the Wellness accommodations combine the latest technologies from Delos with a stylish new room design and eco chic features. Upon arrival, guests will have access to Wellness by Delos room features and programs, including sleep, stress and nutrition programs from the Cleveland Clinic, GoWell! nutritious menu options endorsed and approved by Cleveland Clinic, and guided mediations by Deepak Chopra, MD.Separate post coming on this innovative health conscious aspect of the hotel.

Dining – Who doesn’t want to be my guest when I come to town! Late dinner at hotel restaurant Culina which has been recognized as one of the “Best New Restaurants” by Esquire magazine, one of the “100 Best Wine Restaurants”  by Wine Enthusiast magazine, one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles by Zagat, and one of the “Hollywood’s 25 Top Power Lunch Restaurants” by The Hollywood Reporter.

Milanese chef Luca Moriconi Culina Restaurant Four Seasons Los Angeles

The Roman kitchen led by Milanese chef Luca Moriconi is channeling his Italian childhood with old school recipes with a sense of a family kitchen. He frequently visits the tables to share stories behind the dishes. I was tired and seeing artichoke Risotto on the menu, I knew it was the comfort food I craved. The artichoke Risotto is part of Moriconi’s new Tuscan-inspired spring menu at Culina, and apparently, he is taking this yummy recipe to Milan for a cooking competition. One distinctive aspect of the dish is the crown-cut wheel of Piave Vecchio cheese which the risotto is spooned from – rather than using Parmesan, he uses this distinctive cheese. A server follows him to a table and drops a smidgen of balsamic vinegar on each plate. While talking to the guests, Moriconi finishes his table-side Risotto preparation by stirring the warm rice in a crater at the center of the cheese wheel and spooning out the creamy result onto each plate.

My friend who ordered salmon, nibbled from my plate in obvious delight. Delizioso!

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills – come for the sunshine, come for the Cabanas, come for the people watching and don’t miss the spa or the Artichoke Risotto!

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Loved my all to brief visit where the professional staff proved again that it’s the little things that matter and make for a special visit. Four Seasons never disappoints!