A Girl’s Guide to Paris

Picture Yourself on the Seine...

For the ladies, all the ladies, loudah now, help me out… a ‘come on, all the ladies, let’s talk about Paris… and the New York-based GirlsGuideToParis.com! They’ve launched a new travel club designed to bring savings, insider tips and on-the-ground assistance to Paris visitors. Merci, ladies. The Girls Guide to Paris site features 4,000 pages (yes, 4,000!) of fun ideas, services and insider-tips for shopping, dining, and visiting Paris. Among its scores of tips and suggestions not found in other guides, the site provides times of the year when Hermès holds its rare sale on its signature scarves. Cause that’s mandatory, non? Optional paid levels also provide major discounts on hotels, spas, apartment rentals and more, along with VIP access and in-Paris concierge assistance. And The Girls Guide Concierge… they’re able to create special experiences not available to the average Paris traveler, such as shutting down a store for an exclusive shopping experience or arranging helicopter service for private dinner at a chateau. The site’s travel club members can also obtain invitations to exclusive fashion shows, previews at art galleries, film screenings, and private parties. Now we’re talkin’ or, rather, maintenant nous parlons. At least, according to Google translate (sorry, yo hablo espanol pero no hablo Français).

The site also offers a free member newsletter, downloadable walking tours, apps and a weekly radio show.

So check it out, ladies, and let us know what you think!

www.girlsguidetoparis.com

London Olympics & Home Exchanges for All Occasions

Two words: London Olympics. Two more: Cheap Hotels. Three more: Apartment Swap Instead. We all know that from July 27th – September 9th, London will be the center of the world while hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. 8 million fans are expected in the mythic stadiums to support 10,000 athletes from 204 nations. But for those who come from abroad, the budget including travel, tickets and accommodation can be a big problem, especially for families. London ain’t cheap! In the meantime, a number of Londoners will take advantage of the Olympics to take a break from the city, leaving empty houses and apartments behind them.

Enter…

HomeExchange.com which allows people wanting to come to different locations around the world to meet and become happy home exchange partners: Londoners plan vacations of a lifetime at no cost, while visitors find real homes in the City during its most demanded time ever. A benefit for both parties. In the past few years, HomeExchange has become a mainstream travel option, now recommended by major insurance companies. The success of the site at the occasion of the coming London games proves that discerning travelers have discovered value that goes well beyond unlimited vacations for less than the cost of a single night in a hotel.

Founded in 1992, HomeExchange.com is recognized as the largest and most respected home exchange agency in the world with now more than 40,000 members in 142 countries. The site started its strategic development in 2005 with the French Trocmaison, followed by 16 more international sites. 60,000 exchanges were achieved in 2010, while 200 new listings join HomeExchange.com every 7 days. Among members, 98 percent declared they were satisfied with their exchange partners. Families are the most represented social group.

www.homeexchange.com

3 month   $15.95 per month

1 year    $9.95 per month

Fiji for Friends, Fiji for Lovers…

Namale Resort & Spa - Savusavu, Fiji

Lately, we’ve seen our kiteboarding friends and fashion friends posting on Facebook about their trips to Fiji and the small island of  Tavarua in what is, technically, known as collection of islands in Melanesia that form the island nation of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean. The photos we’ve seen look stunning, which is why, when we were sent information on a Valentine’s Day Package in Fiji – this time on the island of Savusavu – we wanted to let our readers know. So, for those looking for romantic, last minute Valentine’s Day vacations, check out this all inclusive heaven. I imagine this place would be amazing for destination weddings too.

An Interior Shot at Namale Resort & Spa

This deal is for the Namale Resort & Spa, a luxury resort in Fiji on the island of Savusavu (FYI – the resort was also voted ‘The #1 Ultimate Honeymoon Suite’ in Modern Brides). Here’s how you get there: you take a direct flight to Fiji (available from Los Angeles, Honolulu, Seoul, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Christchurch, Auckland, and Tokyo), and arrive at the Nadi International Airport. To reach Namale, you’ll take a short, 1 hour domestic flight to Savusavu, where you’ll be greeted by one of their friendly staff. For this particular deal, they’re offering guests the chance to stay 7 nights at the 5-star resort for the price of 5, but their website has a host of other options, particularly for those looking for the most romantic honeymoon location in the world.

Also voted the Best Hotel for Romance in the South Pacific by Trip Advisor® and One of the Top 50 Most Romantic Places on Earth by Luxury Magazine, the all-inclusive resort and spa provides the idyllic backdrop for romance, unparalleled luxury and, for baller’s and big time romancers like us, privacy.

Namale's Hydro Room

Here’s the deal:

Namale’s Valentine’s Day special includes 2 free nights in any bure or villa, plus:

·         All Meals – Full service breakfasts, 3-course lunches, 5-course dinners, and snack in between each meal

·         All beverages including beer, liquor, red and white wines and champagne

·         Round trip transfers to and from Savusavu Airport

·         Fully stocked and daily replenished mini-bar

·         Daily laundry service

·         Complimentary access to the Namale Fitness Centre, Kava Bowl (Indoor Entertainment Centre) & Hydrotherapy Room at the Namale Spa & Sanctuary

·         Complimentary activities include freshwater pools, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding, golfing, volleyball, bowling, virtual golf, waterfall hikes, movie theatre and more.

At around $900/night for 2 adults, it’s more Bucket List than Bargain Bungalow, but remember… food and alcohol is included and you won’t regret it.

It ranks #1 on TripAdvisor so even the guests are glowing.

http://www.namalefiji.com/home.aspx

An Iron Chef Pop-Up Experience in Hong Kong?!

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

We can’t get enough of Mandarin Oriental properties since we spent a weekend in DC and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC last month. It was there that we had the pleasure of being driven around by Carlos in a beautiful black Mercedes with lavender scented hand towels. It was there that we ate Pastry Chef (and Just Desserts Finalist!) Michael Petersen’s amazing Eggnog Bread Pudding at their restaurant, Sou’Western (and didn’t regret each and every moment on the lips or hips). It was there that we were regaled with fantastic stories about living in Japan from Linda Beltran, their lovely Director of Public Relations. Yes, we were wooed and wowed and will always seek out Mandarin properties from here on out!

So, when we heard about The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong‘s exciting new offer we were ready to take a flight just to see what this fine property has up it’s sleeve.

Want a hint?

One of the best chefs in the world and a cooking show classic worthy of THIS sushi samurai!

Acclaimed Iron Chef Morimoto! HI... YAH!

Yes, it’s Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto! And… he’ll be showcasing his unique style and unsurpassed culinary talent at the newly created pop-up restaurant concept at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental from January 16th-18th, 2012. During this amazing three-day event, Tian and Di function rooms will be transformed into a dining room featuring elements that best reflect Morimoto’s mouth-watering, awe-inspiring cuisine. This latest pop-up restaurant initiative is designed to bring exceptional chefs, their restaurant concepts, and gastronomic beliefs to genuine food lovers in Hong Kong who might not have the time to travel and visit their reputable restaurants. We don’t just likey – we lovey!

Morimoto's Best (c) FoodFashionista.com

Connoisseurs of fine cuisine can savour Morimoto’s truly exceptional 10-course gastronomic dinner using the world’s most exceptional ingredients, with a live cocktail sushi bar and freeflow of Ruinart Champagne, exclusively available for three nights. The dinner is priced at HK$2,888 ($371 USD) per person and 10% service charge. To make a truly authentic experience, for an additional HK$888 ($117 USD), guests can also enjoy a five-glass pairing of wine and sake from some of the most unique boutique sake wineries in Japan.

So, better book early to avoid disappointment and please… if you go, send us some photos so that we can feel proper food envy!

For reservations: call +852 2132 0188.

www.mandarinoriental.com/landmark

A Chic Pop Up Caribbean Cabana Camp? You betcha.

A Pop Up Cabana Camp!

Design Hotels strikes again! Papaya Playa, a Design Hotels Project, has developed a genius idea. For several months, they’ve been working with a small team on realizing an idea: a temporary “pop up” camp with 99 rustic cabanas on a 900 meter stretch of pristine Caribbean coastline in Tulum, Mexico!

Taking inspiration from the pop-up phenomenon happening around the world in the form of retail, art and gastronomy, they cleverly felt that now was the time to translate it into hospitality. So from December 6, 2011 – May 5, 2012, the Papaya Playa Project welcomes adventure seekers and creative souls to join them in shaping a temporary, and they think, extraordinary environment.

Simply. Chic.

Their idea was to create a transitory, yet culturally-rooted experienceCapitalizing on the natural environment and multicultural character of Tulum, they’ve put together an international team of real visionaries, each enriching the experience with their own food, music, design or wellness concept. They’ve got KaterHolzig of Berlin’s Bar 25 fame, 42°Raw, Mampapacola, as well as a spa incorporating Mayan shamanism. A playful communal concept is at the fore here – whether it’s spontaneous creativity at the amphitheater, beach jam sessions or inviting innovative companies to explore the ultimate green workspace.

The project may come as a surprise for those who associate Design Hotels™ with bold architecture and striking design. Fear not, that will continue to hold true, yet equally important are the intangible qualities – like the sense of community, connection and belonging, as well as the personality and vision – which make each hotel so one-of-a-kind. With this project they’re peeling off a few layers to expose the heart and soul of great hospitality experiences. Their ultimate goal?

To give guests a deeper understanding of what Design Hotels™ stands for, and why their Made by Originals core message rings true in so many shapes, places and forms.

http://www.papayaplayaproject.com