Savannah: Girls Getaways

Luxurious Savannah

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love Savannah and it just so happens that it’s also an amazing city to reconnect with girlfriends.  We came across this sweet southern website where groups of friends can enjoy staying in an historic mansions called the Luxury Living Collection.

Here, you and your gaggle can relax and soak up some history.  These luxurious homes provide the right atmosphere for a true girls slumber party – Savannah style.  Please let me know if I can send some images – your readers will surely be interested in this unique destination and these lovely historic homes.

Home to one of the largest historic districts in the U.S., Savannah personifies elegance and evokes images the Old South—the vast expanse of its porches and plantations, meandering streets lined with oak trees and Spanish moss, and impeccable hospitality complementary to all types of girlfriend getaways. Experience the uniqueness of this fabled American city through the following activities:

•    See classic literary and cinematic backdrops made famous by the likes of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Forrest Gump and Something to Talk About;
•    Tour the historic streets of Savannah by trolley, bike, scooter, or on foot for a pub crawl and cosmos;
•    Sample savory Southern fare at popular restaurants that include Lady and Son’s Restaurant and Uncle Bubbas Oyster bar from Savannah sweetheart, Paula Deen;
•    Shop till you drop on River Street, a cobblestone road that runs along the Savannah River, known for its fine retail and restaurants. Gal pals will love the locally owned boutiques unique to the city, many of which have been opened by graduates of the famed Savannah College of Art and Design—talented aesthetes who stock their stores with signature trinkets, including one-of-a-kind baubles, bridal attire, footwear, art, and home furnishings;
•    Scavenge for estate treasures at a plethora of antique galleries;
•    Gaze admiringly at Southern gothic architecture and edifice;
•    Visit 45 cultural attractions and historic sites;
•    Sit front-row for a lively performance of a musical or play; or
•    Attend one of the city’s 200 yearly festivals, which pay homage to the best in culture, including music, film, books, home design, architecture, and landscapes.

Luxury Living Savannah, a splendid showcase of five historic mansions that offer a collection of rental options designed to accommodate parties of all sizes, offers ideal proximity to the best of its namesake city.  Each of the aging Grand Ladies has been lovingly restored to its original splendor, the result of multi-million dollar renovations completed in accordance with historic guidelines. The homes incorporate bold, rich colors with modern amenities that the discerning traveler expects (gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances, luxe bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, flat-screen TVs,) and yet retain original details that make these luxe getaway options unique. The mansions display an extraordinary attention to detail, with antiques that tell their own story tucked into every corner.

Further separating Luxury Living Savannah properties from their character-less counterparts is a menu of customized in-house services that cater to an unforgettable girls get-together. Among the services that a hostess and her guests can use to strengthen the bonds of sisterhood are comfortable airport transfers, on-site spa services, and private chefs who are available to teach cooking classes and create gourmet meals tailored to the dietary specifications of the group.

Insert Pillow Fight Here

Guests can choose among several accommodation options like:

The Wedding Cake Mansion: The Wedding Cake mansion earned its name for its elaborate white bay window with ornate stained glass and white ornamental ironwork. This award-winning mansion, which has undergone a three-million dollar renovation and has earned historical certification, is located on Savannah’s Monterey Square, made famous by the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This 1869 2nd Empire Baroque home features a main house with four- to five-bedrooms, five-and-a-half ornate, lavish bathrooms, a formal living and dining room a gourmet kitchen and lovely courtyard with fountain. There is also a two-bedroom, two-bath garden suite and a one-bedroom, one-bath carriage house.  This gives you the option of eight bedrooms and eight-and-a-half baths to accommodate up to 21 guests.

The Forsyth Park Mansion: Located a block from one of the country’s most beautiful parks, the Forsyth Park Mansion has undergone a painstaking renovation, which restored the home to its original grandeur, created one of Savannah’s finest and largest private gardens, and earned the mansion its historic certification. This four-bedroom home also has five spectacular bathrooms, a formal living and dining room, a gourmet kitchen, rambling side porches, and garden with a soothing fountain. There is also a two-bedroom, two-bath garden suite and a two-bedroom, one-bath carriage house.  This gives you the option of eight bedrooms and eight baths to accommodate up to 20 guests.

Guests who book a four-night stay at Luxury Living Savannah will receive the fifth night complimentary between Nov. 1 and Feb. 28. (Blackout dates include Thanksgiving and Dec. 20 through Jan. 3.)

Santa Monica, CA: Hotel Shangri-La

Hotel Shangri-La: Santa Monica, CA

It’s a hotel that speaks to LA’s heydey.  Reminiscent of  art deco beauty and style, that’s why this week we’re highlighting the iconic Hotel Shangri-La overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Having just undergone a large renovation, owner Tamie Adaya, single handedly re-designed the Streamline Moderne structure, but still maintained its  1930’s charm that makes this hotel so distinctive. It’s just one reason why we love the place so much.

The 71 room boutique hotel offers a portfolio of rooms and suites to choose from; each enhanced by (here’s our favorite) luxurious, deep soaking tubs.  Suites feature two bedrooms and two lavish baths highlighted by an on suite pedestal tub that sits in front of French windows overlooking a kickass Pacific ocean view.  The hotel also boasts 35 suites with deluxe kitchens, high-end appliances, Carrera marble countertops and streamlined stainless steel cabinetry to compliment the deco room décor.   All rooms and suits are also outfitted with Frette plush robes, Molten Brown toiletries and Matteo bed linens rounding out the many high-end, sleek accommodations.

With the renovation, Adaya also added a sparkling pool outfitted with cabanas, a 10,000 square foot pool deck, a premiere restaurant, The Dining Room, and a chic roof top lounge, Suite 700 (where you just might be able to spy some young Hollywood starlets  stealing some rays).

“When my family purchased the Hotel Shangri-La 30 years ago,” Adaya explains, “I had a vision of it becoming what it is today: a space that continually inspires and soothes the soul. I can’t think of a better way than soaking in a tub while soaking in the view.”

Did we also mention why we really love the Hotel Shangri-La? That would be… the hotelier at the helm, Tamie Adaya.

Tamie Adaya, Hotel Shangri-La Proprietor

A passionate student of global pop-culture, art, and politics, she’s revitalizing the principles of what it means to be a Renaissance woman, hotelier, and mother in the 21st century. Tamie not only runs the Hotel Shangri-la, but also owns and operates the Santa Monica based artist collective Crown Jewels while simultaneously updating her popular blog and posting her travel blog for  the Huffington Post.

Prices start at $295/night so we say, go Deco and get decked at the Hotel Shangri-La. It’s LA’s secret sweet spot.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Preservation Trust

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust

We’re architect groupies. We’re not afraid to admit it. To that end, when we heard about The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust’s In Wright’s Drafting Room: Architecture Fantasy Camp at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio—a National Historic Landmark in Oak Park, IL, we began to dream in beams.

From June 12-15 and October 2-5, this adult workshop offers amateur design enthusiasts the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to create unique designs with the assistance of a professional architect.

Within the awe-inspiring Drafting Room of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park Studio, where the famed architect created world-renowned structures such as Robie House and Unity Temple and created the Prairie style of architecture, guests from around the world receive great personal attention with an accomplished architect to plan and design a structure of their own as the Preservation Trust allows a maximum of only twelve participants.  The best part? No architecture experience is necessary, as the skilled designers will help participants create a new addition to their home, remodel part of their residence or design a picturesque dream home. Attendees also enjoy a private, in-depth tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and Wright’s Frederick C. Robie House as well as a self-guided tour of Unity Temple. Past participants have used their Architecture Fantasy Camp designs to build actual homes.

Tickets for In Wright’s Drafting Room: Architecture Fantasy Camp are $500 for Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust members and $550 for non-members. For more information please visit

Italy’s Latest Villa Escape

Villa Armena: Relais and Beauty Farm

In the 16th century the noble Malavolti family always strived for the perfection.  When it came to the creation of their luxurious country residence in the heart of Tuscany’s Crete Senesi, they turned to one of the best known architects of the Italian Renaissance, Baldassare Peruzzi, who eventually created the residence, Villa Armena.

Thanks to an extensive reconstruction, the villa and its gardens, located just outside of Buonconvento, have been fully restored to once again show-off the original features dating back to the 16th century. The restored villa has been transformed into an exclusive luxury boutique hotel and beauty farm, which has relied on the latest standards of luxury and indulgence to create a unique experience for all of the senses of true connoisseurs of all that is the best.

We love Villa Armena Relais & Beauty Farm for several reasons, but it’s the rooms that really impressed us. We’re talking historic Tuscan romance to a T.

Seamlessly intertwining 21st century comforts and the original elegance of renaissance Italy, the conserved 16th century original features of the villa blend into the paradise setting, while inside the amenities offered represent those available at the most luxurious of today’s hotels. Villa Armena’s traditionally Tuscan rooms and suites, with original features, contain an exquisite selection of art and antique furniture and all rooms enjoy fabulous views of the gardens and the Crete Senesi.

Another Villa Armena Suite

Guests of the renaissance residence – which is going to open in Spring 2011 – will experience the very best of Tuscany, by relaxing in the shade of the “Ancient Fruit Area,” soaking up the gentle Tuscan sun by the swimming pool, or strolling through the fragrant gardens brimming with roses, cypress, maritime pine and olive trees. Alternatively, you can while away the hours in Villa Armena’s beauty farm indulging in a superb range of ancient Roman and Mediterranean spa rituals or enjoying the indoor and outdoor pools. The ‘Sorbo Allegro’ restaurant, a leader in the trend for ‘zero mile cuisine’, also serves up scintillating Italian and regional dishes prepared exclusively with local seasonal products and accompanied by a thoroughly-researched selection of delicious wines, produced by small, independent Italian wineries whose passion for wine goes hand-in-hand with their love and respect of the region in which it is made.

The stunning Tuscan location, of course, make Villa Armena Relais & Beauty Farm the ideal setting for the luxurious wedding of your dreams. The Villa’s professional in-house wedding planner ensures that every aspect of the special day exceeds the bride and groom’s expectations in respect of all aspects of the day. On request, excursions in a hot air balloon or on horseback, regional wine tours, or guided tours can be organized for both the newlyweds and their wedding guests.

So what say you? Shall we go in the Spring or the Summer?

Prices: from 295€ to 850€/night with buffet breakfast and VAT included