Safe Travel – State of Emergency Isolate in Five-Star Luxury Soon!

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!

Hotel Bel Air, Beverly Hills

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 !

Malibu Beach Inn

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.

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.

Four Seasons Biltmore Resort Room 702

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.

Four Seasons Biltmore Resort, Ty Warner Villa

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! .

Rancho Valencia – a private oasis

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.

Views of undulating dunes and plateaus with private swimming pool and large terraces.

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.

Las Ventanas Private beach front Villa

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!

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.

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!

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita Presidential Suite pool
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

Next week on our radar:
Inn at Five Graces, Santa Fe, NM, a charmer! at Rock Creek, Montana – Ultimate Dude Ranch

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.

There’s hope! Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita

Useful sites for staying tuned in to Corona Virus:

Corona Virus Blues? State of Emergency.

Shelter in Place and already dreaming of warm beaches, and suffering from Severe Wanderlust? Stir Crazy? Add these movies to your Netflix Binge List.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Maldives

Whenever a client requests a Journey, they receive a bag of Travel books and a suggested reading list for their destination…Since Journey planning is on a bit of a hold, may we suggest a few travel related films?

Lawrence of Arabia Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif), Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port. The autobiography of the English officer retells his Arabian adventure and his experience uniting and leading the nomadic Arab tribes during World War I. Gathering intelligence about the Arab revolt against the Turks, Lawrence reminds us that one of the greatest parts about traveling is learning about other cultures. I’ve watched this countless time and love it.  I just spent a few hours in Wadi Rum in Jordan, where it was filmed. Peter O’Toole and Omar Sherif are swoon worthy!

Image result for movie lawrence of arabia

The Spy Who Loved Me A British and a Soviet ballistic-missile submarine suddenly disappear. James Bond — MI6 agent 007 — is summoned to investigate. On the way to his briefing, Bond escapes an ambush by a squad of Soviet agents in Austria, killing one during a downhill ski chase and evading the others. The plans for a highly advanced submarine tracking system are being offered in Egypt. There, Bond encounters Major Anya Amasova—KGB agent Triple X—his rival to recover the microfilm plans. They travel across Egypt together, encountering Jaws – a tall assassin with razor-sharp steel teeth – along the way. Bond and Amasova reluctantly join forces after a truce is agreed by their respective British and Soviet superiors. They identify the person responsible for the thefts as the shipping tycoon and scientist Karl Stromberg. The film takes its title from Ian Fleming’s novel The Spy Who Loved Me, the tenth book in the James Bond series, though it does not contain any elements of the novel’s plot. The storyline involves a reclusive megalomaniac named Karl Stromberg, who plans to destroy the world and create a new civilization under the sea. Bond teams up with a Russian agent, Anya Amasova, to stop Stromberg. It was shot on location in Egypt (Cairo and Luxor) and Italy (Costa Smeralda, Sardinia), with underwater scenes filmed at the Bahamas (Nassau), Scenery & escapism, we need a double dose now!

A Good Year Russell Crowe stars in this movie as a high-powered London stockbroker who learns there is more to life than money. Inheriting a chateau and vineyard in Provence that he prepares to sell, Crowe falls in love with the simple life of the French countryside and a local beauty. This light-hearted comedy will make you want to book your ticket to the South of France

Out of Africa One of my favorites for several reasons: Seven Oscars, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford and sweeping scenes of Africa wildlife. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford star in this tragic love story about a married baroness who falls for a big-game hunter, based on the autobiographical novel by Isak Dinesen. Filmed on location in the UK and Kenya, including the Shaba National Game Reserve, Out of Africa feels about as epic as the doomed love affair between two very different people.

Out of africa poster.jpg

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel A few British retirees (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy) decide to outsource their retirement to exotic — and less expensive — India. Lured by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and imagining a life of leisure in lush surroundings, they arrive and find that the Marigold is actually a shell of its former self. Though their new home is not quite what they had imagined, the retirees find that life and love can begin again when they let go of their pasts

The Way The Way is a beautiful and inspiring tale about a father walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail to honor his recently dead son. The experience is an eye-opening an emotional one for him, as he’s forced to make friends with complete strangers and examine his life during the 800km journey. It features a very eclectic mix of characters, all walking the path for their own personal reasons.

Under The Tuscan Sun With all the delightful wines, mouthwatering food, remote cottages and scenic rolling hills shown in the film, this romantic flick will inspire to you to travel to this Italian paradise, as well as urge you to scrap your urban life, for a chance to harvest an awesome dream of living a life Under the Tuscan Sun.

Lost in Translation A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo. Lost In Translation is based on two separate travelers, Bob & Charlotte, visiting Tokyo at the same time. They meet each other and form a friendship as they experience confusion and hilarity in a strange and curious city. Bob is an aging actor starring in commercials, while Charlotte is the bored wife of a photographer there on business. They are an unlikely pair, experiencing a degree of loneliness in a foreign city filled with millions of people. This is another beautifully shot film that also shows how funny and interesting traveling in a new country can be.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty When Walter’s job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. This is a lighthearted look at the adventurous spirit with some awesome travel mixed in.

A Walk in the Woods Author Bill Bryson , (Robert Redford ) after living for ten years in the UK, returned to New Hampshire. Now in his 60s, he had been living there peacefully for the past twenty years. A television interview reports that he has published several popular books and there is speculation he will be writing more. Bryson, however, has no such plans.Bryson and his wife Catherine, (Emma Thompson) attend a funeral. Not being an outgoing person, he takes a stroll up to the nearby Appalachian Trail. He suddenly decides he will hike its entire length. Catherine objects, presenting all kinds of accounts about accidents and murders on the trail. She relents on condition that he not travel alone. He agrees and searches for a friend willing to join him. Everyone declines his invitation; some declare him insane. Finally, he is contacted by Stephen Katz, (Nick Nolte) an old friend who offers to be a hiking companion. Within less than a mile of their departure point, as groups of hikers overtake and pass them, they begin to grasp the difficulty of their ambition. Shortly after, a group of young children effortlessly runs by them up the trail, laughing and calling out to each other. Seeing others pass by so easily motivates them to carry on. And they move on, day by day, making more or less pleasant acquaintances, having more or less pleasant experiences

Image result for midnight in paris

Midnight in Paris While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight. In this romantic comedy, Owen Wilson plays Gil, an unfulfilled Hollywood screenwriter who heads to Paris with his fiancee Inez, played by Rachel McAdams. Dealing with the divergent goals between he and Inez, Gil mysteriously transports back to the 1920’s every evening at midnight. Mainly taking place in the Jazz Age of Paris, themes of modernism and nostalgia permeate throughout the film as Gil meets some of the greats from that era. If you need to be encouraged to follow your dreams, Midnight in Paris should be the next movie you watch.

Encounters at the End of the World Encounters At The End Of The World is an incredibly beautiful and funny movie about the people and animals who live in Antarctica. The film by Werner Herzog, one of my favorite directors. The individuals that work at the National Science Foundation research station are full of character, and most are permanent world travelers.

The Motorcycle Diaries This awe-inspiring film is based on the memoirs of Che Guevara, from a time before he became an iconic Latin American revolutionary. Guevara (Gael Bernal) and his friend Alberto “Mial” Granado (Rodrigo De la Serna, Guevara’s real-life second cousin) climb atop a motorcycle and ride across South America for eight months and over 14,000 kilometers. The trip inspired the rest of Guevara’s incredible life. The movie will inspire you to learn more about the incredibly beautiful continent.

In Bruges Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell. Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be. They live like tourists and have several bizarre encounters as they wait for the call from Ralph Fiennes, their crime lord boss. The more Farrell complains about the city, the more you’re going to see this beautiful city.

In Bruges poster.png

Amelie Amélie is a fanciful comedy about a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making. Shot in over 80 Parisian locations, acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Delicatessen”; “The City of Lost Children”) invokes his incomparable visionary style to capture the exquisite charm and mystery of modern-day Paris through the eyes of a beautiful ingenue.

The Bucket List Two iconic actors: Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. The Bucket List is a tearjerker, and more importantly, a heart-warming film that will inspire you to do all the things that you want to do before you kick the bucket, including traveling.

Monsoon Wedding With family coming in from across the globe for a traditional Punjabi Hindu wedding in Delhi, this film gives a great look at the Indian culture. Just like any family and a huge event, we get to experience the chaos that arises from the issues of different characters as Vasundhara Das prepares for her arranged marriage. The beautiful scenery and the fascinating family members make this romantic comedy a great addition to your list.

Up Fulfilling a promise to his dead wife, 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to explore the South American wilderness. Accidentally stowed away as the house takes flight is an excitable eight-year-old wilderness explorer named Russell. The Pixar-produced film follows their hilarious once-in-a-lifetime adventure and the encounters they have with others along the way.

A house is floating in the air, lifted by balloons. A dog, a boy and an old man hang beneath on a garden hose. "UP!" is written in the top right corner.

Wild China This six-part nature documentary series gives an in-depth look at China’s greatest natural wonders. The animals and wildlife really come to life in a way that most people don’t experience when they explore China. The natural history is put together beautifully and makes for an interesting documentary that everyone should see.

Be Well, make a list of Where to Go Next! We are plotting fall Journeys and Summer 2021 Safaris!