NYC: Xanadu & You

Remember the days when you were a beautiful bouncy blonde with a voice like Olivia Newton and long coltish legs that skated into some shiny hot pants? Me neither, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

XANADU, an all-out freewheelin’ party on wheels, is still going strong; thrilling audiences with it’s hilarious take on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John flick, a veritable must see for anyone stressed out in New York City and in need of a good laugh. Now that all those strikes are over, you need Broadway and she needs you.

Told by master Broadway playwright, Douglas Carter Beane, Xanadu is about a muse from ancient Greece sent to Earth to inspire a struggling artist. And you know Jaunt… we adore anything relating to ancient Greece, a muse, and struggling artists. Particularly if there’s singing and roller-skating involved. Plus, Kerry Butler plays the lead and she’s about as close to Olivia as anyone’s gonna get, right down to that sweet Aussie accent.

Her hunky co-star, Cheyenne Jackson, appropriately dubbed by the NY Post as “The Sexiest Man on Broadway” brings a set of acting and singing chops, proving, once and for all, that a man really can have movie star good looks and exceptional stage skills. When he sings “Don’t Walk Away”, shivers just might roll up your spine and set off a string of fireworks.

The best part? The music of Xanadu. All Top 10 hits from the 1980’s written by ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) and John Farrar. The New York Times calls it “Heaven on Wheels”, the Daily News “90 minutes of hilarity” and New Yorker Magazine… “The Most Fun You Will Have on Broadway!”

How’s that for the perfect weekend matinee? A certifiable party, complete with glowsticks and dancing in the aisles. It’s more fun than making out with a hot co-worker in a storage closet at the company Christmas party. And everyone knows how much fun that is (until Monday morning, of course).

Xanadu. It’s guilt-free fun entertainment. Sort of like Snackwell’s… with a little ice-cream on top. Let’s face it, you could use a good dose of roller party after busting your hump all week. You’ll feel like a kid again.

For tickets to Xanadu at the Helen Hayes Theatre:

A Flair Necessity: Organic Accessories

Necklaces of Cardamom and Lupine?

When we say travel light, this is exactly what we mean. Reclaimed natural elements incorporated into a beautifully designed set piece. Jenny Nelson first caught our attention when we saw her interesting work and learned a bit about her life… chock full of equally inspiring experiences. Raised on the coast of Maine, inland from the mystical sounding ‘Mount Desert Island’ (where she currently resides), Nelson was completely surrounded by wild gardens, colorful flowers, and just the sort of woods filled with creatures who sing and buzz.

This idyllic childhood was the perfect setting for outdoor adventures… hiking and kayaking all around her forests, islands and little trees. With a passionate love of nature and words, she went on to study at a prestigious Creative Writing program straight out of high school (because they have such things in those magical Northern lands). In the years that followed, she lived ‘beautifully and randomly, hauling her snowboard around the Alps, teaching skiing and snowboarding, working at small and incredibly fun bakeries, poetry cooperatives, organic farming…’ until she happened upon a very well known jeweler in Northeast Harbor who soon became her mentor. She’s been a full time bench jeweler for her for the past five years, as Nelson says, ‘learning from someone who is a master at what they do.’

Talk about your regular, run-of-the-mill, renaissance Jauntophile.

“Inspired by a childhood spent in gardens and antique shops…’ she beautifully writes, ‘Embarking on countless adventures in the outside world, full of seedlings resting in organic soil, freshly cut wood, and salty ocean wanderings,’ she carries those scented memories into her hand-crafted line.
The only impact her work leaves on the environment? Beauty and substance. Working only with organic materials, found objects, salvaged metals and conflict-free stones, adorning yourself – whether jaunting to the kitchen or the Kasbah – has never felt, or looked, so damn cool. What’s more? You won’t show up to the same party with the same necklace as someone else. She customizes her pieces and each one is unique.

Just like you.

Now buzz off and get some work done already.
Don’t worry, you can come back later.

Pieces range from $65-$325.

Tell her Jaunt Magazine sent you.

Chile: Domo Domo

With the most powerful economy in South America (and a woman at the helm of the country… HURRAH!), Chile tops my list of ‘Get Off Your Hiney And Go’s. Inexpensive accommodations, economic stability, vibrant graffiti art that rivals the street sketches of Buenos Aires, Chile has the Andean peaks and plenty ‘o plenty of vino. What more does one person really need? Sharing a string of ice blue glacier lakes in the South with Argentina and hosting a plethora of vineyards scattered about the country, Chile is the next big thing. Which is why, when we here at Jaunt happened upon this little gem of a secret spot, we said, ‘Aye Dios! Que Bueno!’

There’s something about a geodesic dome that just screams serenity, doesn’t it? It’s a bit off the beaten path (about 580 Km from Santiago), but you won’t regret the trek. The road is paved until you reach the town of Pisco Elqui, but the resort will help arrange travel from there. One of only seven astronomic hotels in the world, you can literally sleep with the top down. Each has two floors. The first, with a living room and the bathroom, and the second, with the main bed (and your detachable roof). They also have a terrace, as well as a telescope and offer a fridge bar, free tea & coffee, specialized astronomic literature, BBQ’s and cutlery. In addition to viewing the night-sky with your lover, they offer astronomic tours and nighttime horseback rides.

Does it really get any more romantico? Oh, and it’s all earth-friendly too. So hitch that wagon to a star. Orion’s waiting.


Sleep It Off: Personalized Pillows & Conradtinis

It’s a good thing the Board ‘o Hiltons listened to their marketing department because the Hilton name has sadly become old tired news. However, Conrad Hotels, the newly re-vamped contemporary luxury hotel brand, is upping the ante by delivering properties everywhere from Australia’s Gold Coast to Punta del Este. Those under development include properties in Koh Samui and Dubai. Just to give you a taste, that up there… is the underwater restaurant at Conrad Hotel Maldives.

Now, I’m not one to shamelessly plug Hilton, but back in the day Hilton was synonymous with quality. Many years later (and many upgrades undelivered), their properties fell into a state of dis… well, let’s just say Paris wouldn’t be so proud. Thankfully, they’re pulling themselves back from the 80’s, introducing new amenities that sound downright fresh and fun. We’ll start with a bespoke cocktail service called the ‘Conradtini,’ which enables guests to become a master mixologist by creating their own cocktail.

While most restaurants and bars offer standard martini and cocktail menus, this modern bar alternative allows guests to order and mix their cocktails exactly as they wish without worrying about finding the best combination of their preferred ingredients or sacrificing their interest in a peach martini because of their aversion to lime juice. Furthermore, each hotel and resort has created its own Conradtini menu to reflect the cultural preferences of location and local customs.

That’s the part that I really like.

Whether guests prefer a gin base or vodka, juice or carbonation, nectars, syrup, a martini shaken or stirred, Conradtini offers guests the luxury of choice. So take a seat at the bar and create an individual concoction with as much – or as little – assistance from Conrad’s own talented mixologists.

Will it be caramel, watermelon juice, banana nectar, cidona or Lucozade? From capers and cucumber to honeydew and snakefruit, you’ll pick your own glassware (and prepare to get loopy).

Richard Blamey, Senior Vice President Brand Management, Conrad Hotels & Resorts says of the new Conradtini, “At Conrad we’re always looking for ways to extend our commitment to providing options and personalised luxury experiences for our guests. This new bar concept, which we believe is the first of its kind… celebrates each guest’s individual preferences. We want everyone to feel comfortable ordering their cocktails the way they enjoy them most, rather than for each guest to alter an already-existing menu.”

Thanks, Richie. We appreciate the concern (and the attention to detail). Speaking of details, listen to this one:

A Global Pillow Menu!

Conrad Maldives

In line with their motto ‘Luxury for Every Guest,’ and for those of us with discerning pillow tastes, you can order up a speciality pillow depending on your needs. Whether I’m cramming the pillow between my legs or smashing it down to make it less bulky, this idea is clever customization at it’s best.

Here’s a sampling of pillow options (keep this in mind… when I was sent The Pillow Menu for the entire range of Conrad properties, it was several pages long!)

Bangkok Shogun Pillow – Igusu grass of Japan
Small holes inside the mat absorb humidity and heat. Tatami fiber massages feet and stimulates blood circulation when walked on.

Bangkok Miracle Pillow Polyester – 100% The “Anatomic Pillow”
In hygienic vacuum-packing, it’s warm, shape retaining, springy, insulated, antiallergenic and antibacterial.

Chicago Cold and Flu Pillow
Infused with eucalyptus, tea tree, bergamot and sandlewood, Clear congestion and breath easier. The refreshing scents of eucalyptus and tea tree help relieve and clear noses. Bergamont eases headaches
and soothes a troubled stomach, while sandlewood relieves sore throats.

Chicago Romance Pillow
A relaxing fragrance stimulates and inspires a romantic ambiance with vetivert, patchouli, ylang-ylang and
sandlewood oils. This combination of scents is an essential for romance.

Chicago Snore No More Pillow
At last, a pillow designed by a doctor to help reduce snoring while improving sleeping posture to provide luxurious comfort for a better night’s sleep. Designed to help reduce airway obstruction.

So, after downing my own personalized Cocktinis, I mean… Conradtinis, I can snooze it off in style. After all, who really NEEDS a lover when you can catch a cat nap in the Windy City with a Romance Pillow?

PS. If you’re married, just throw your husband the Snore No More and watch some late night hotel programming.

Nighty nighty.

Carry It On: The Future is Lookin’ Bright

Well, I’ll be…
Just when I start to lose faith in my fellow man (even with all that Obama Hope Hype), he/she goes and does something really cool. So much for talk, this is action. It may be a prototype, but if the Nords continue to be as eco-awesome as they’ve been in the last five to ten years, I see the Photon stuffed in every stocking from London to Los Angeles. What’s the Photon? you ask. Just a portable solar panel strap attached to a handy bag that will power that battery-hungry iLife of yours, that’s what.

Intended for everyday and extreme mobile use, the solar strap is designed for – of all things – paddlers, and consists of a flat waterproof dry-bag, a mobile phone case and a shoulder strap. Solar cells have been placed in the strap to maximize their exposure to the sun so that you can use it to charge that pesky fifteen-minute strong cell battery.

Designed by Kari Sivonen, part of the architectural firm, Valvomo, out of Helsinki, this cool gadget was created for a traveling exhibition project called ‘SAUMA’ meaning ‘Seam’ [Design As Cultural Interface], featuring contemporary innovative design from Finland.

Fin-land. Fuck Yeah!
(Perhaps they should re-write the Team America theme song?)
Prototype made by Clothing+

Mexico: Yo Quiero Conchinita y El Caribe

Playa del Carmen, Mayan Riviera

When most people think of Mexico they might think of loud Americans with fanny packs heading to Cabo for a cold Corona, but the real Mexico… she’s somethin’ else entirely. Yes, I am enamored with Mexico. Aside from the fact that I’ve fallen in love there on more than one occasion, she’s still, in so many wonderful ways, undiscovered country. Sure, she can dangerous, untrustworthy, and macho, but she’s full of riches. Sometimes I wonder why she suffers so… this wild country of margaritas, ruins, rugged hills, tumbling waves, crystal waters, and more chiles than you can handle. Then I remember… she can’t really be trusted, and if a people can’t really trust themselves, then who can they trust? Ah, yes… other countries may capture my soul, but Mexico, she has mi corazon (y mi Chichen Itza).

This Jaunt will take you to Mexico’s caribe, but stay tuned as we break down Mexico into the breathtaking regions that give the country her rich history and her renegade spirit.

Locals have been known to ask the secret aid of Mayan curanderos (healers) to mend a broken heart or cure a pesky ailment, but visitors flock to the Riviera Maya for the healing properties found in the sweet Caribbean lobster, electric blue waters, ancient ruins, and nightlife teeming with sleek European and South American tourists seeking out the relaxed bohemian vibe.

Situated on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s a land of ancient tradition stretching from Punta Brava to Tulum. Tropical mangroves, exotic chiles, and achiote lend wild flavor to an already lively region of locals and ex-pats. In addition to the cozy port town of Playa del Carmen where Ula Gula (5th Avenue and Calle 10) traps guests with their fresh fish entrees, there are countless Caribbean gems that offer travelers a chance to find seclusion and sophistication away from the throngs of Cancun party-goers.

When to Go:

The best time to visit is during the winter, spring and summer months. Hurricane season is typically summer into fall.

What to Do:

Take in the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza, relax with unique spa offerings, snorkel/scuba in the second largest coral reef in the world, and visit hidden cenotes (sinkholes) or the caves of Aktun Ha with a local guide. Don’t miss dinner at John Gray’s Kitchen in Puerto Morelos (Av Niños Heroes, Lote 6 Puerto Morelos Tel: 998-871-0449) and cocktails in Playa at Fly (5th Avenue), Hotel Deseo, and Om. For brunch, I’m a fan of 100% Natural.

Where to Stay:
Paraiso de la Bonita $$$$$

One word. Gorgeous. One more… DELUXE. Translated from Spanish, “Paradise of a Beautiful Woman” is the ultimate sexy retreat for the hotel connoisseur. The definition of privacy and sophistication, it’s located in Puerto Morelos twelve miles south of the Cancun Airport. From airport pickup in Lincoln Navigators to piano concerts and culinary afternoons with the chef, there are ninety ocean view suites on fourteen acres of beach, mangrove, and gardens. Open courtyards lead to private plunge pools, Bulgari amenities, and fountain filled paths. Reflecting pools make it designed to feel like a five-star private residence rather than a hotel. Mediterranean, Indian, and Balinese artifacts create a decidedly island chic getaway.

Maroma Resort
Located ten minutes from Playa del Carmen, Maroma is a favorite among my Hollywood friends. A sophisticated, yet rustic hideaway located on a beach front portion of a coconut plantation, it’s among the finest resorts in Mexico. Built in the tradition of a Mexican hacienda, this sixty-four room resort boasts a powder soft white-sand beach named “Top Beach of the World’s 10 Best Beaches” by the Travel Channel and Forbes. Beautiful unspoiled beaches and over a hundred cenotes offer an eco-adventure or exotic escape. Don’t leave without trying the Goddess/God Ritual, two hours of relaxation which begins with the burning of copal, the sacred resin of the Burrsera tree, and ends with chamomile tea poured over your body and a two person Lomi-Lomi massage.

For those who want to get their groove on with the likes of old Italian movie projections set to the beat of local house DJ’s, head to Playa del Carmen and try:

Hotel Deseo ( and fellow Habita property, Hotel Basico (

I’m a fan of Deseo for drinks, but it could get a bit loud if you’re staying there as well. The bar is right outside the rooms. I stayed at the Blue Mosquito in Playa as well, but wasn’t that impressed. For a fraction of the price, you can stay at any number of spots on Fifth Avenue.

PS. For the true diehard Jauntophile who would rather be in the quaint town of Playa, but doesn’t want to break the bank, I have a list of what I lovingly refer to as ‘secret’ hotels… we’re talking $45-$75/night gems that I have personally scouted out and stayed, but guess what… you’ll have to send an email expressing your genuine interest, otherwise, they’ll become entirely too popular and you know what’ll happen next, don’t you? That’s right… they’ll raise the prices. We simply can’t have that now, can we?

Now Vaya Con Dios!

A Flair Necessity: Pangea Organics

Pangea. How many bars, restaurants, and companies have promised you the world by taking this great concept and making it a reality? It’s certainly an honorable name for such an ambitious ideal. Deriving from the Greek, the word literally means ‘Entire Earth’ and is based on the super-continent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras (that’s about 250 million years ago), long before the continents split apart and shifted to become the earth we now know.

And what do we know?

Egyptian Geranium with Adzuki Bean & Cranberry Scrub ($33) by Pangea Organics, that’s what. It may sound like something good enough to eat with a side of brown rice, but that’s exactly why we covet it. These exotic organic products are earth-friendly right down to their Zero Waste bio-degradable box with, get this… basil seeds planted right inside! Yes, you can wiggle your green thumb with pride by simply slipping off the label, soaking the box in water, and planting it into the ground!

So scrub your porcelain cheeks knowing full well that you’re also able to directly have a hand in creating some much-needed oxygen in the world. Now listen up. They might be charging a bit more than your run-of-the-mill grocery store brands, but they’re certainly much cheaper than Chanel or Creme de la Mer.

If that’s not all, they’re developing the Pangea Institute, a non-profit dedicated to researching and teaching all aspects of sustainable living and business practices. An education center and ‘incubator for earth ideas,’ under the leadership of Civil Engineer Jon Previtali, they’ve invited architects, designers, visionaries, artists, students and amateurs to design a mixed-use community plan that will house the Pangea Institute, the Pangea Organics manufacturing facility and community housing.

Talk about Entire Earth.

Pssst… we also heart their Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom lip balm rich in vitamins, nutrients and a deliciously awesome scent. $13