Begins with an A…More on Plopping, Barefoot Luxury.

Besides the day-to-day stress, the unpredictable profound pandemic has created its own subset of stress. Is it safe to go, is it better to stay home still?

A short list of perfect places to Plop, beginning with A. Anguilla

Anguilla is a vibrant Caribbean Island filled with stunning white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and an incredible culinary scene. At just 16 miles long it is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Caribbean and still has the atmosphere of being virtually untouched, making this the perfect island getaway. One Caribbean advantage is the lack of cruise ships and casinos, no island day hoppers intruding, it feels more like a private island. Postcard worthy beaches with safe surf.

Four Seasons Resort On the north coast of Anguilla, in a prime spot between Meads Bay and Barnes Bay. Set amid 35 acres of tropical gardens, most of the contemporary rooms overlook the breaking surf and blue horizons of two of Anguilla’s 33 spectacular beaches, the only resort that fronts two beaches. There are a wealth of facilities including some fabulous dining options and a wonderful sunset lounge, the luxurious spa and then the ‘Kids For All Seasons’ club. The real jewel in the crown of the Four Seasons Anguilla is its stunning beachfront location with nearly a kilometer of white-sand beach and no guest will struggle for active things to do with complimentary use of boats, boards and more, 3 swimming pools, tennis, rock climbing, basketball, and badminton on offer.

Anguilla is the perfect place to learn kitesurfing, SUP and kayaking. Badminton, tennis and rock climbing lessons can be arranged. Kids For All Seasons brings a new adventure every day.

From contemporary five-bedroom villas to opulent rooms and suites. For a romantic break, the deluxe ocean view one-bedroom suite is a divine choice with its dedicated living area, kitchenette, and balcony with a private plunge pool.

Bright orange sunset on the open ocean
Best breathtaking sunset dining view: Salt Restaurant

Go across to Scilly Cay for a lobster barbecue and their famous strong rum punch with your feet in the sand Enjoy a delicious lunch of barbecued lobster, crayfish, or chicken, located on the gorgeous, yet simple, Scilly Cay. Wash it down with their famous Rum punch and then relax in the sun or go for an invigorating snorkel. Simple and delicious. It’s the only building on the tiny island in the middle of the bay, offering panoramic views of Island Harbor. Bike around and explore the local area – stop for a coffee or beer and soak in the Anguilla vibe.

Belmond Cap Juluca an iconic luxury property on an amazing beach, think spa massage cabanas with a drop-dead view and suites with private plunge. Shake the winter blues and plan to visit between December and March. Set on one of the Caribbean’s most stunning beaches, Maundy’s Bay, framed by swaying palm trees and indigo blue seas. Set amid 179 acres of stunning tropical landscape and inland waterways overlooking the nearby St. Maarten mountains, Belmond Cap Juluca is an exclusive luxury hotel built in Greco-Moorish style on the untouched island of Anguilla.

Belmond Cap Juluca

Situated on the southwest coast of Anguilla, spread along an endless soft white sand beach. The hotel is built in white stucco and the architecture is Moorish in design, with towers, minarets and splashing fountains. 

The rooms and suites are in 18 separate two-story beachfront villas. The rooms are spacious with king size beds, marble bathrooms and private terraces or balconies with ocean views. Those on the upper story also benefit from a roof top terrace with glorious views out to the glittering blue sea.

Relax on the beach in the comfort of a designer chaise, shaded by jumbo umbrellas, order thirst-quenchers and meals…the comfort list continues with complimentary chilled towels, petite servings of sorbet and complimentary ice-cold bottled water.

The Cap Shack is the place for mellow afternoon cocktails, beach vibes and reggae music as the sun drifts down to slowly sink into the sea. Numerous water sports, snorkeling and diving will keep even those with the need to move quite satisfied.

Belmond Cap Juluca

Malliouhana Resort Auberge Located on the west end of Anguilla, between Meads Bay and Turtle Cove. With its panoramic position on the beach front, the Malliouhana offers some of the best views over the Caribbean Sea.

Malliouhana Resort Auberge

This iconic Anguillan hotel has an open-air, modern, and contemporary feel while retaining the charm you would expect from a Caribbean resort hotel. Set within 25 acres of lush tropical garden the Malliouhana Resort offers a combination of ocean view and garden view rooms and suites, all of which offer down bedding and luxury linen as well as custom blended organic bath and body products.

The restaurant at Malliouhana has an excellent reputation with a variety of sea to table offerings inspired by the Mediterranean. The menu incorporates only the freshest ingredients which change throughout the season. Its relaxed but elegant ambiance coupled with Anguillan hospitality make for a memorable dining experience. The Sunset Bar is the prime spot for Caribbean cocktails, all of which are handcrafted by the hotel’s mixologist.

Malliouhana features 44 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, most of which have lovely ocean views. All are spacious with large private terraces, oversized bathrooms, plush robes, luxury linen, down bedding, and pillow menus.

If golf is your game, then the Greg Norman signature designed 18-hole course with breathtaking views over St Marten and dramatic holes is located nearby and the perfect place to spend a few hours or two.

If you can bear to leave the beach, visit the heritage collection museum to get the historical flavor of the island. It is easy to visit another Caribbean Island on a day trip to St Maarten, which is only around 10km away, and a great way to experience the diversity of this region.

This island really is all about the beaches, and you will struggle to think of a day better spent at Shoal Bay, enjoying the local scene, and toasting the sundown with an icy rum cocktail – paradise!

Boat hire from any of the hotels will enable you explore the many off island cays. Board a West Indian sloop for a sunset sail, inland exploration can be enjoyed by horseback or ATV. One of the characteristics which makes Anguilla so appealing is that it still embodies some of the raw Caribbean culture.  Savor a chilled cocktail at Four Seasons, or for a slice of local life, stop at a BBQ hut and enjoy an al fresco meal of chicken and ribs at a picnic table with locals. The food scene is exceptional and is considered one of the culinary capitals of the Caribbean.

Embrace all things aquatic with scuba diving, kayaking, sailing or snorkeling adventures in Anguilla. A beautiful azure tapestry of wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, appealing food and caring local people, Anguilla is Authentic!

anguilla beaches

Serenity Now! Ojai and Montecito, Village Life.

My longing for an Epic Voyage is almost crushing. Have you ever analyzed your favorite travel, have you created a list? What does it look like? Is Beach Therapy your go to? Is it adventure and the African savanna’s whispering to you? Or are you craving the majestic calm beauty of Bhutan?

I’ve been safely venturing to boutique properties I hadn’t visited due to a much more intense travel program, and I’ve truly enjoyed re discovering the wine country, Malibu, and Santa Barbara again. Epic Adventure is in planning stage, I will triple vaccinate and mosey to Morocco, Madrid, and Paris.

San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito

New clients asked, how do we create a combo Journey? A new Travel Recipe Series. I.E. we are considering the Maldives and Singapore – and yes they have read my posts on the two Four Seasons in the Maldives and understand my obsession with the magical seas. One of my most favorite Journeys was to the Maldives and despite the long trek, you will want to stay longer than planned!  It may sound exaggerated, but it is true: there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the staggering natural beauty of the Maldives fully and accurately. Note to the dear Four Seasons GM – who invited me for a two-week exploration, sending clients soon, promise!

Discovering that SW airline fly’s direct from Oakland to Santa Barbara, I reserved immediately! I can’t tell you how many times United has forsaken me on their SFO/ SBA routing. My elderly godmother and ancient aunties deserved a visit, off I went.

Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai

Summer heat and pink moment sunsets at the Ojai Valley Inn didn’t disappoint. Two legendary properties, the Inn, and San Ysidro Ranch in the hills of Montecito are a great combo. Sun and the sea. Frank Capra used a long view shot of the Ojai Valley to represent the mythical paradise in the classic film Lost Horizon. In 1923, Edward Drummond Libbey, a wealthy Ohio glass manufacturer and philanthropist, commissioned California architect Wallace Neff to build a private Ojai Country Club. The architectural remnants of the original Spanish-colonial-style design are still in evidence; the hotel offers a little over 300 spacious and tastefully decorated rooms, a relaxing spa, four pools and several restaurants. I’ve always loved sitting beneath the massive Oak Tree terrace for lunch or dinner. The property spreads across a gentle rolling hillside into a deep green valley punctuated by massive Oak trees; the rambling flow of Spanish Revival style buildings resemble a picturesque village of red tile roofs sheltering white stucco walls, typical of what you might view in remote Spanish or Tuscan villages. I met a lovely mom and daughter enjoying a week together, bicycling into town and I shared in my favorite retail therapy boutiques. Several VV Chic Summerland and Montecito shops have added outposts here.

Moving a bit north to Montecito, several first-class options, sadly the Four Seasons is temporarily closed, if you need beach therapy, it is truly la tragédie. Montecito exudes a quiet glam, it doesn’t scream opulence, mansions yes, but most are gated or secreted behind walls of expertly pruned shrubbery and manicured gardens, an enclave of concealed wealth. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, San Ysidro Ranch is another legendary hideaway. The Ranch has a historical guest list: Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill, Sinclair Lewis, and John Huston, who finished writing the screenplay for The African Queen while in residence. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh exchanged midnight wedding vows on the grounds, and Camelot began here with John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooning in the cottage that now bears their name.

Ultimate seclusion and almost perpetually blessed by sunshine if the beach below is foggy. Tucked away in the leafy foothills of Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch offers a unique blend of privacy, peace, and tranquility in an idyllic setting. Thirty-eight vine-covered cottages surrounded by incredibly landscaped gardens with flowers always in bloom under a canopy of stately sycamores and gnarled oaks make this exclusive property destination unplugged from the rest of the world. Citrus groves, olive trees, brilliantly colored lantanas, lily pond, and the sweet smell of orange blossoms, fragrant magnolias, and jasmine make you think that you have just discovered a slice of paradise. Pass the guard cabin and another world awaits. Oprah and Harry live just up the winding San Ysidro Road.

The Ranch provides several premier dining settings featuring a palate of herbs and vegetables harvested from the onsite chef’s garden. The Stonehouse, a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant, is in a 19th-century citrus packing house and has a romantic full-bar lounge and separate dining room with an outdoor terrace and a crackling fireplace. For a more casual destination, the Plow & Angel offers more regional cuisine and a convivial ambiance as a local favorite. Housed in a storybook setting, the Carriage House features fireside dining with French doors opening to a private stone-paved courtyard.

San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito

Montecito is chock-a-block with charming boutiques, fancy deli’s, delicious dining, and if you perch front and center outside the entrance of the very popular Lucky’s Restaurant, you may think you’ve been transported to Palm Beach. Oh my, peacocks parade each evening… it’s splendid people watching, as Dorothy uttered to Toto – “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Safe, luxurious, easy to and fro – Our local car service can also motor you down the coast, he has been driving a client weekly to Santa Barbara since last year!

Taking a break or a vacation may save your life, we live in the country of No Vacation Nation, which is unhealthy, time off is integral to emotional health. An attorney friend once told me he billed for shower time as it was the most productive time for thinking. According to health experts you have your best ideas in the shower or on a walk—or on vacation!

Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai

Serenity Now means taking good care of yourself.