Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is an exhilarating mélange of natural and manmade charms with a juxtaposition of Pacific, Asian and European influences.
The boisterous Hawaiian capital is heavily drenched with never-ending beaches. Waikiki being the most popular of the lot. Glistening ombré waters are adorned with dollops of vivid surfboards and beach umbrellas.
Majestically perched in the distance is Diamond Head, an extinct volcano and one of Hawaii’s most renowned icons. Climb the summit trail and be greatly rewarded with pristine views of the sunshine state. It’s just like living out of a postcard, in a state of nirvana.
THIS WEEK’S DREAM DESTINATION AND WHAT TO PACK
It’s no question that the most romantic cities in the world is brimming with a plethora of hotels – but which one to pick? We sieve through the thousands and bring you three luxurious boutique hotels in Paris to suit every visitor – plus key pieces to pack.
From contemporary to eccentric, artsy to modern mid-century, these design-heavy boutique hotels are perfect for the ultimate Parisian getaway. So, which of these options will you pick for your next trip?
Occupying a spot in a dreamy neoclassical building, Le Pigalle is a new addition to the frisky neighbourhood of the Pigalle district. The interior of this neighbourhood hotel is deeply inspired by the area’s risqué vibes, musical scene, and hip nightlife.
All 42 sunlit and homey rooms encompass a modern mid-century vibe. White walls are lined with artwork of local artists and photographers, iPads and turntables featuring a rare collection of vinyl are available for groovy nights as well as vintage furniture, a collection of books and magazines, and subtle marble touches can be found in the room.
The hilly Montmartre and infamous Moulin Rouge, are just steps away from this modern eclectic ensemble. Families with young tots should be cautious as the area draws a different crowd towards dusk being so close to the red-light district.
An adventurous Parisian stay
The ground floor
Worth getting out for:
The hopeless romantic Montmartre
WHAT TO PACK
Amidst Paris’s coolest neighbourhoods and just a stones throw away from the Porte Saint-Martin sits Hotel Providence Paris, a lavish boutique hotel fit for the bon vivant. In this 19th century Haussmannian building resides 18 rooms and three suites. Decked in a heavy dose of maximalist allure – think printed velvet fabrics, House of Hackney wallpaper adorn with exotic foliage, rich, decadent walls, vintage furnishing in dark hues and unique objets d’art.
The highlight of this hotel lies in the attention to detail. Indulge in pre-dinner drinks with a fully stocked cocktail bar and a visual bartending guide. You’ll also find scented candles, French country flea market finds, a clawfoot bathtub and lampshades that match the room’s wallpaper.
A romantic urban getaway
Free standing bathtub in the penthouse suite
Worth Getting out for:
Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin
Located in the heart of the happening 9th district of Paris, the Hotel Panache is a league of its own. The hotel evokes a cool vibe with a touch of quirky Parisian soul – thanks for its peculiar structure.
The rooms adopt a sophisticated soft contemporary theme – complete with clean lines, soft pastel tones with a mix of subtle textures and surprising slivers of gold accents. All rooms also come with different wallpapers behind the bed that balances the sleek and clean lines of the furnishings.
The cosy rooms are embellished with other prominent details like knotted wrought iron headboards, vintage phones, pendant lamps, marble side tables and a great selection of books. Adorable teepees for kids are also made available upon request.
A fun family vacay
French breakfast on the terrace balcony
Worth Getting Out For:
Notable restaurants like Racines, Bouillon Chartier & A la mère de Famille
Luxurious Boutique Hotels in Paris
Just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, the neat little coastal town of Sausalito provides a rare pocket of laidback Mediterranean charm. Viewed from a distance, Sausalito presents a neat tumble of houses with the bay at its feet — a sight that bears closest resemblance to Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast. A succession of marinas and boatyards stretches across much of the waterfront, a tranquil mooring ground for the town’s well-loved and oft-visited houseboats. Richardson Bay’s calm waters also call for an afternoon of leisure, whether it’s paddling on kayaks or strolling comfortably across the boardwalk. All signs of life point to Sausalito’s past as a bustling maritime port.
Back in the 1800s, Sausalito’s calm inlet was the gateway linking the thriving Northern California Redwood industry to the rest of the country by rail and sea. Today the famous waterfront — known as Bridgeway — is visited mostly by boatloads of tourists from across the water.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have just returned from an epic loop of the Pacific – Singapore, Hong Kong (leg stretch), San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne (leg stretch), Singapore – in 10 days. Typically, I am not a very regular ‘grammer, but I do tend to get a little Insta-happy while on the road – which is a lot at the moment. Let’s face it, it’s nice to share your favourite moments like hanging out with Olympic rowers on a fresh Saturday morning (yes a little off topic, but certainly a once in a life time opportunity) and the rarity of west coast sunsets.
What a fabulous trip it was; I met some really talented people, discovered many fabulous shops and got to know each city that little bit more. My travelling equals more destinations on Travelshopa. Going off this last trip, 2016 is going to be one mega year for travel + shopping. Have you started looking for flights yet?
One of my favourite things when travelling is talking to people. It’s how I uncover many city secrets, and walking helps me add in the details like the little details on the side of a street, the smells and general sounds of a city. San Francisco is especially pretty and always reminds me of my hometown Sydney; the harbour, shopping and food are all world class.
One fond memory was when a chatty cabby with all time “let’s get away from this traffic” skills was taking me from point A to point B. While climbing the steepest of streets and dodging trams, we were solving the problems of the world revisiting the modern history of his homeland, Singapore. Suddenly, I discovered on Google Maps (aka modern day backseat driving) that we were totally off track and at a crossing unlike any other. My costly detour turned out to be a cultural exploration of the rainbow flag ordained neighbourhood, The Castro. The Sydney girl in me felt instantly at home and reminiscing Oxford Street during Sydney Mardi Gras.
No destination was what I call a virgin visit so there was a strict agenda. Officially adding California (ok… and Australia) to Travelshopa has been a vivid dream for a while, and it’s exciting to know that our coverage of these destinations is going to be available for all to enjoy very soon. For now I am delighted you can explore California off the beaten track – Napa Valley, San Diego and Palm Springs, until we are ready to take on the big smoke.
For all of Seoul’s modern trappings, it is also a place steeped in tradition and history. The five grand palaces, fanning out from the heart of the city are standing testaments to Seoul’s regal past. While all five palaces enjoy status as cultural treasures of Korea, Changdeokgung was especially popular with the royals for its lush landscape of gardens, ponds, and pavilions.
Originally built in 1405 as a secondary palace, the complex served as the seat of government at intervals throughout the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). The most well-preserved of the five remaining Joseon palaces, Changdeokgung was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 for its exceptional architecture and the way it was built in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Seated at the foot of Ungbong Peak of Mount Baegaksan, Changdeokgung is a prime example of pungsu-jiri, a Korean form of geomancy that closely resembles fengshui. The palace’s official and residential structures, and its famous rear garden ‘huwon’ were designed to embrace the uneven contours of the land, thus distinguishing it from conventional palace architecture.
The compound is laid out in a traditional fashion, with three gates and three courts, with the residential area built to the rear of the administrative section. Bold, upswept roofs give the building its character, drawing nature and its beauty within. The overhanging eaves are decked in ornamental carvings and adorned with japsang — animal-shaped roof tiles and figurines. Silhouetted against the white winter sky, Changdeokgung’s dignified and elegant form is made all the more apparent.
99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul