This blog is a fashion editor’s insider guide to some of the world’s coolest hang outs and great places to shop, eat, sleep, drink and party when on your travels. And of course, coming from a fashion editor, it's filled with tips and advice of what to wear when you're there, what to pack and a secret address book of the best places to shop when you reach your destination.
Amanda Wakeley and Eve de Haan Royal Academy Party
Where? The Amanda Wakeley Flagship Store on Albemarle Street.
Why? To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts, renowned British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley has joined forces with neon artist Eve de Haan to create an installation exhibition in the designers Albemarle Street Flagship Store. The installation will be on show from June 22nd – July 8th.
When? Tuesday 26th June 18 saw the opening launch party of the pop up exhibition and I was on hand to bring you the low down from the front line of the party!
Who went? Guests included designer Amanda Wakeley, artist Eve de Haan and rapper Tinie Tempah.
Founded in 1990, Amanda Wakeley OBE is Founder and Creative Director of the iconic British womenswear label which shows at London Fashion Week. The ethos of the brand is effortless chic and she dresses her customers in elegant, beautifully cut ready-to-wear pieces.
Her wedding dress collection is world renowned and the main collection is inspired by clean, minimal lines and sports luxe features. She has dressed some of the worlds most influential and glamourous women such as the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson to name a few. See some beautiful pieces from her AW18 collection below.
Eve de Hann is a London based artist whose creations examine the concept of change and the imprint of technology on youth culture. Using the medium of neon lights she creates thought provoking and challenging pieces exploring gender roles and the changeable nuances and hidden meanings within a statement.
Her exceptional pieces have been exhibited across Europe and she recently had an exhibition at the Neon Museum in Los Angeles. Her latest creations can now be seen at the Amanda Wakeley pop up installation on Albemarle Street.
Drinks flowed all evening and champagne glasses overflowed as the flagship store opened its doors to London’s fashion and art crowd. Ladies looked glamourous in Amanda Wakeley signature pieces and the neon light artworks provided a beautifully lit backdrop for the party goers.
Bonnie checks out the merchandise in store.
The Moth Applique
As part of the collaboration Amanda has designed an exquisite signature moth applique, inspired by Eve de Haan’s ‘midnight moth to a flame’ neon piece. The applique plays on the irony of a moth drawn to cashmere and how a scarred piece of clothing can be destroyed by a moth and then re-elevated by the moth applique .
It is available in store and can be hand sewn by the atelier onto any piece from the cashmere collection of your choice. Prices start from £75 for the small moth and £95 for the large. It’s currently available at the flagship store but soon going online.
I’ve been visiting Ibiza for over 20 years, my fascination with the island started as a child and I’ve seen it go through many incarnations. It’s an island that has many faces, to some it’s a hedonistic escape a truly free spirited party island, to others who gravitate towards Es Vedra one of the worlds most magnetic spots, it’s a spiritual space, for yoga, sanctuary, enlightenment and has a truly boho vibe.
To me the island is both these and so much more. One thing my readers ask me all of the time (usually at the start of the summer season) is where to go and what to do in Ibiza. In particular where are the best beach clubs and nights out. So here is this year’s update of my favourite places to eat, drink, party, stay on the island (this includes old favourites as well as a few new openings and a new edition this season, best insta locations in Ibiza).
Here’s The Style Traveller Ultimate Ibiza Itinerary – Best Beach Bars, Clubs, Hotels & Restaurants…
Ibiza – Best beaches and beach bars
For the fashionistas – Salinas beach in the south of the island is where the cool trendy crowd hang out. Jockey club for bouji, champagne swilling white beach bed vibes and Ca Trinxa, for boho shack, hipster vibes with a beautiful sunset.
Head 5 mins drive through the salt flats for Experimental Beach – a French rustic chic beach club. And for the best party on the beach (at a price) head to the infamous Blue Marlin. Beach House in Playa den Bossa is a good party meets chilled beach club destination too.
For the hippies – Sunset Ashram for crazy saxophone jazz, live artists painting sessions and watching the sunset over Es Vedra. And if you’ve never been before, watching the sunset over Beniras Beach in the North of the Island with the fire jugglers and Bongo Players is also quite an experience.
Ibiza is filled with fantastic nightclubs but if you’re not into your international DJ scene it can be difficult to navigate. My favourite clubs in general include Pacha, Hi Ibiza & Ushuaia, Amnesia and DC10. But each of these hosts different DJ’s playing different styles of electronic house music every night.
If you want to go to a night playing commercial house tunes that you’ll recognise Ushuaia is usually a good place to start, open from around 4pm (afternoon clubbing) till midnight, the party takes place around the pool.
If you are into your edm, my favourite nights are Solomon at Pacha on Sunday, any nights being hosted by Axwell and Swedish House Mafia and Carl Cox (who no longer has a residency but is doing one off nights on the island), and relative newby London DJ Jamie Jones’ Paradise at DC10 is pretty gritty too. But paradise is definitely one for the seasoned clubber as there’s not much on show at DC10, its all about the beat.
If you want a well known DJ smashing out commercial chart topping house tunes that you’ll recognise and can sing along to, look for David Guetta. And to party with the island residents in the know, Pikes is an iconic favourite, this is not a super club though, it’s set in a hotel garden but the vibe is mischievous, dress up and you never know what’s gonna happen, boutique clubbing at its best.
Pictured above and below: Bonnie at Ushuaia
My favourite spa hotel with a true Ibizan boho-luxury vibe is Atzaro, think Ibizan finca meets spa chic. I normally stay here on a chilled girls trip or with my boyfriend. If I’m heading to the island for a hedonistic, party vacation I always check-in to Miami style, Es Vive Hotel. It’s so central to all the action but still has a chic, boutique hotel atmosphere.
And for the luxury, champagne side of Ibiza head to Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Pacha Destino and new this year, Seven Pines Ibiza, which I stayed in for its opening, it’s not quite finished yet but it’s set to be a fabulous new edition to the island come mid season.
Pictured above: Atzaro Hotel and below Es Vive.
On top of the great food served at many of the beach clubs, there are literally hundreds of amazing restaurants in Ibiza. These are just some of my favourite evening restaurants. For fun party nights out try Tatel, La Belle, Heart Ibiza (expensive cirque do soleil meets El Bulli style evening).
Km5 is an old favourite, think Bedouin tent chic with a nightclub attached, also Bambuddha is a beautiful oriental style extravaganza. For fantastic Spanish food my two favourites are Sa Capella, housed in an old romantic, rustic church and for the best (reasonably priced for ibiza) tapas in the the old town, my favourite is La Bodega.
Top restaurant: Balanese chic at Bambuddah. Above: La Belle’s whitewashed interiors and below: traditional Spanish tapas at La Bodega.
Yacht charter – day trip to Formentera
This is my all time favourite activity on the island! Hiring a yacht to Formentera for the day with Smart Charter Ibiza. Prices start at 520 Euros which if you share with friends works out more affordable. Check out my full blog post on it and also my You Tube video linked here.
Above and below: Bonnie on a SmartCharter Yacht in Formentera
My all time favourite spa in Ibiza is the Aveda Balinese style spa at Atzaro. Housed within the luxury, bohemian hotel the Asian inspired spa with stunning lap pool is not only stunning, it also has the the best treatments on the island. The signature massage here is sensational.
Hacienda na Xamena – (pictured above) for a spa circuit with lagoons overlooking Es Vedra, you have to book quite far in advance for a time slot and tbh the staff are not the friendliest here, which is a bit of a shame as it’s such a great experience.
Best Instagram Locations In Ibiza
Head to Ibiza Old Town for classic white washed streets filled with Bougainvillea flowers. Golden hour (for photographers) starts at around 4pm, start at the top of Dalt Villa, have sundowners and dinner on your way down ending up at the marina for drinks in the evening. The whole old town area is buzzing and vibrant with bars, jewellery stalls, boutique shops and super yachts.
Helios Mykonos – The Ultimate Luxury Fitness Retreat
Where? The Greek island of Mykonos Exactly?Helios Retreat Mykonos. The luxury sports and fitness retreat is set in a stunning whitewashed villa perched on the hilltops of the picturesque island, with breathtaking views of the sea and a dreamy infinity pool.
Why? When the fun loving Brazilian retreat leader, Hugo Martini Mensch invited me on one of his renowned fitness retreats in Mykonos I was thrilled and accepted immediately! I’d heard a lot about the Helios retreats for a while and when you combine the fitness and yoga classes with luxury accommodation, individually catered meal plans and it’s right at the start of bikini season, it was an easy sell!
On arrival on the first day we did a mini hike to a nearby lighthouse to take in the local surroundings and also get to know the other guests on the retreat a little better. As everyone was a little tired after the flight, the first session was a lovely chilled yoga class on the pool terrace taken by the beautiful Amanda from Yoga Alchemy, followed by a healthy dinner at the villa and an early night.
The group hike to the light house, not too strenuous on arrivals day.
The rest of the trip is set into a schedule of intense training sessions, yoga, meals times, as well as some much needed chill time. The day is normally broken up into 3 or 4 classes, a fun activity and three delicious healthy meals a day. No scrimping on food here, the portions are generous, you’re training so hard, you need to eat for energy.
Above and below Bonnie wears khaki and pink top and leggings from USA Pro at Sports Direct
Each retreat varies, but an example of our day would be a wake up yoga session 7am, short juice/shake break, followed by a 8.30am HIT (high intensity training) session. We’d then have a protein and veggie rich breakfast at the poolside dining table altogether as a group. The rest of the morning is divided into either hiking, visiting the beach, or chill time by the pool and lunch.
Above: Bonnie at the end of the hike with master trainers Method Man Josh and Amanda from Yoga Alchemy At 5pm once the heat is less intense we would have another training session, perhaps boxing, TRX, HIIT, weights, core or cardio. The training schedule created by London based, celebrity trainer Joshua Clark aka The Method Man of Method Movement, was really varied and kept the pace exciting. We all had different fitness levels but it really didn’t matter, you can do as much or little as is right for you. We never repeated the same class twice and I loved his very Physio style of training, perfecting your posture and core all the time.Above: Bonnie wears white marble bra and leggings by USA Pro at Sports Direct and Below: White swimsuit by Asos.
Hugo likes to change up the villas from season to season, but one thing is for sure, they will be super luxury! This time we were staying the spectacular Zina Villas. Situated high in the Mykonos hills with awe inspiring views. The villa itself was whitewashed to perfection with a beautiful central infinity pool, which all the main activities, classes and meals are based around.
My room was large, airy and beautifully decorated with neutral coloured, soft furnishings and cute local art works. There was a powerful rain shower, soft fresh clean bed linen, 180 degree views through the huge windows and a spectacular balcony with private sun beds. I’d often sleep with the curtains slightly open at night so I could wake up to the sunrise. I literally loved my bedroom and was sad to leave it at the end of the trip!
Pool view at sunset
Bonnie hanging out in Mykonos Old Town wearing white lace dress by Very.co.uk
Delicious daily meals are provided by Mykonos Bowl, filled with super healthy, nutritious, organic ingredients, it’s exactly the sort of fuel you need to aid your high energy days, plus it’s super tasty too. There are plenty of snacks, nut bars, protein shakes and juices in the communal fridge on hand too in case you get peckish.
In the evenings we mainly ate out. Restaurants varied between fantastic traditional Greek tavernas, farm-to-table organic restaurants like Farma (keep scrolling) and we also had two nights out in Mykonos town which are free nights where you can go off and explore. Interestingly we all stayed together anyway and dined at Interni and Avra two of Mykonos’ best restaurants (more on restaurants below). You can also chose to do your own thing on these days if you prefer, perhaps visit the famous windmills, or go shopping in the super chic individual boutiques.
Above: a typical breakfast from Bowl and below a protein rich lunch.
After of week of training, eating healthily and enjoying yoga sessions, hiking and swimming in the sea, I felt rejuvenated, rested (unusually) and filled with a new force of energy and positivity. It’s exactly the sort of retreat I was looking for. And more importantly, do I feel bikini ready for summer now? Hell yes!
The trainers were so amazing and enthusiastic and nothing like at the usual boot camp style, starvation retreats I’d been on in the past. I arrived feeling exhausted and I left feeling fitter, relaxed and renewed. I can’t recommend it enough, it’s the perfect fitness retreat for a pampered style traveller like me. And I highly recommend the Physio massage too!
Above: Bonnie wears green sequin swimsuit by Goldigga
If like me you like to discover your local area a little, I’d recommend a lovely late afternoon or morning visit to Mykonos old town. Or combine a late afternoon browse around the amazing little boutiques, followed by sunset drinks overlooking the famous windmills.
There are also lots of excellent restaurants and beach bars here too if you fancy doing your own thing one day.
Why? I was very lucky to be invited to review the splendid Regent Hotel in Porto Montenegro for a glamourous girls weekend break to the chic new destination.
My partners in crime were fellow bloggers and influencers @CollyerTwins and @TaniaBDarling.
Where we stayed?
Porto Montenegro is one of Southern Europes most exciting new hidden gem destinations and The Regent Hotel is the jewel in its crown. Located on the resplendent shores of the Unesco protected Boka Bay, the location is surrounded by incredible natural beauty from mountains, to beach to turquoise blue waters.
Reminiscent of a grand old Italian palazzo, the Regent hotel is the perfect blend of tradition meet modernity. The main hotel is divided into two wings, one a traditional Palladian style, buttercup yellow painted palazzo and the new wing is in complete contrast a clean lined, modern architectural structure, yet both sit happily alongside each other in the chic and luxurious marina village, with its designer shops and expensive restaurants.
New meets old, above and below, yet they fit together perfectly as though they’d both always been there.
The decor in the whole hotel is inspired by its nautical surroundings. So the spacious rooms are decked out in teak wooden furnishings, with primary colours and sailing paraphilia mixed with modern art works. They are super luxurious and include everything from wide screen TV’s, fluffy pillow menu, to rain showers, and spa products in the bathroom.
Me chilling on my rather grand sofa above and below my very beautiful bathroom with roll top bath.
My balcony looked directly out to the super yachts and the marina, so stunning.
What to do in the day
My advice, make sure you have at least a day to spend chilling out at the hotel and indulging in the incredible swimming pool and pool club residences at the yacht club next door (about a 4-5 min walk away). With large angular sculptures, breathtaking views and azure waters, it’s quite simply one of the most spectacular infinity pools I’ve ever had the pleasure of swimming in.
Where to eat?
The marina in Tivat has several excellent restaurants on site if you fancy eating out. I do highly recommend the hotels Murano Restaurant where we had breakfast and also dined for a more formal dinner one evening. The menu is a mixture of European and Italian classics expertly presented and very insta friendly.
Image above me in the outdoor area at Murano and below a drones eye shot of marina and hotel.
The marina itself is well worth a wander, filled with chic designer shopping boutiques, fabulous super yachts and some lovely restaurants.
Above the Pool Club and Residences lit up at night.
Sunset boat trip
We were super lucky to be invited on board one of the stunning super yachts to sail out on a mini evening cruise and watch the sun set over Tivat whilst sipping on cocktails and listening to jazz. Ask at reception for more details, it was such a glorious and dreamy evening.
Day trip to Kotor
Myself and the girls pictured above were invited on a lovely half day trip to the ancient town of Kotor, followed by lunch by the sea and an afternoon boat trip to the Lady of the Rocks, a tiny manmade island with a quaint church perched on top of it.
Lunch in Kotor consists of the freshest fish caught that morning
Why? When the gorgeous guys at Style Lab asked me if I’d be interested in spending the weekend in Monaco and samplling some incredible luxury experiences, it didn’t take me long to decide.
From flying in on a helicopter with Monacair, to spending a glorious day on board a stunning Riva yacht to dining at the truly splendid Rampoldi Restaurant, which is rumoured to be one of Prince Albert of Monaco’s favourite restaurants, and so much more. The whole experience was beyond decadent and mind blowingly fabulous! Keep scrolling to see what I got up to.
Here’s my Style Traveller guide to spending 48 hours in Monte Carlo as a millionaire…
Opening image – me arriving into Monaco on board a Monacair helicopter wearing a Lazul dress.
Say the words Monte Carlo and images of indulgent luxury, helicopters, yachts, fine dining, casinos, designer shopping and pampering spa treatments are just a few of the activities that spring to mind. So when the Style Lab invited me to Monaco to experience the ultimate millionaires lifestyle in one weekend, I thought it only right to investigate further, for research purposes only of course and deliver my findings to you in this weeks blog post!
So here’s a break down of the ultimate luxury lifestyle experiences to be had in Monaco. And how I spent my lavish 48 hours in the beautiful principality.
Monaco Boat Service (MBS) started in 1959 and is the exclusive Riva boat dealer for France and the Principality of Monaco. It is home to some of the world’s most beautiful boats.
A Riva Yacht, with its wood panelling, luxury interiors and retro styling is one of the sailing worlds most treasured and beautifully designed vintage-inspired boats.
No stranger to famous passengers Riva owners have included Sean Connery, George Clooney, Claudia Schiffer, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Kings, Queens and Sultans. Princess Grace of Monaco was famously gifted a beautiful ‘Aquarama’ as a wedding gift from designer and innovator Carlo Riva.
MBS offer daily and weekly chartering services. We sailed on a Rivamare yacht, purchase prices start from 1 million Euros and chartering starts from around 5000 Euros per day. I’m sold! I wish :)
Charlie and I sail by the Oceanographic Society Building on board the Rivamare.
Where to Eat – Rampoldi Restaurant
Monaco has some incredible restaurants but perhaps THE place to see and be seen is The Rampoldi Restaurant. Located right in the centre of Monte Carlo, around the corner from Casino Square, The Rampoldi opened it’s revered doors in 1946 and has since been a favourite amongst Hollywood celebrities, sporting icons and even The Princess Grace of Monaco and the rest of the royal family.
Recently the kitchen was taken on by Michelin star trained and San Pellegrino’s Young Chef finalist, Antonio Salvatore. So the Rampoldi just landed itself an even higher place on the worlds gastronomic charts.
The food is an innovative mix of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine mixed with beautifully artistic presentation, but what stands out the most are the incredible flavours and tastes on the plate, as they’ve been created with the finest, freshest quality ingredients. This is a foodie’s dream where the theatre is as good as the taste.
We were treated to an incredible signature menu created just for us. We indulged in five courses of deliciousness included the most divine eggplant pasta and a succulent octopus main dish, but my favourite course of all has to be dessert with a steamy liquid nitrogen fruit box, just for pure theatre of it all!
The private members club, smoking room downstairs houses a beautiful wall of wooden lockers for members to store their favourite wines and cigars in, each with the initials of the owner inscribed on the door. One of the boxes (the one with the gold panelled inscription) belongs to Prince Albert of Monaco!
Me enjoying my delicious eggplant pasta sat in the main restaurant overlooking the kitchen windows, so I could see everything the chefs were getting up to.
Givenchy Spa at the Metropole Hotel
When leading a millionaire lifestyle one should expect to be pampered like a princess, so I popped in to the Givenchy Spa at the very splendid Metropole Hotel for a full body massage and a chilled relaxing swim in the Karl Lagerfeld designed spa and roof top swimming pool.
The treatment was incredible, starting with a scent choosing session and a mood survey on the i-pad, so I could pick the music and the pressure to make the massage a signature experience. Followed by the massage itself and then a post treatment refreshing swim in the beautiful pool.
Chilling on the grand steps of the Metropole Hotel.
Where to stay
From the Metropole (above), to The Hermitage to Monte Carlo Bay, Monaco is filled with excellent luxury hotels. It’s very hard to choose. I think for style travellers and people looking for the perfect instagrammable hotel, it has to be The Hermitage for an unparalleled luxury experience in a spectacular setting. Pictured above and below, me in the stunning hallway and the lobby of the Hermitage.
Monte Carlo Bay
We also stayed at Monte Carlo Bay which is a lovely friendly property. It has an excellent location on the water front and it’s not far from the centre of Monte Carlo. A cab will set you back exactly 15 Euros into town, as this is the rate for all journeys in Monte Carlo regardless of distance or time.
The facades and reception areas are pretty with neoclassical details and the rooms are a good size. I would recommend it for families, especially with kids, as in the summer months they have a fun lagoon style swimming pool and the beach is right on your doorstep. (pictured below).
Me posing in the grounds of the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel.
What to do in the day
I highly recommend a visit up to Monte Carlo old town, at the top of the hill, near the palace. The streets are so pretty and quaint, painted in pastel colours. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat here, there’s a fantastic little open air French restaurant directly behind the cathedral (pictured below, no one knows the name!!) where you can get the most delicious freshly cooked fish in an authentically French atmosphere. What I love about Monte Carlo is that it’s so small you can literally ask directions to the palace or the cathedral and you’ll find your way.Monacair Helicopter
To truly arrive (and depart) in style head to Monacair and charter a heli transfer from Nice to Monaco. It felt like the ultimate jet set experience and is also super exciting to Monaco from an aerial view.
Below: Me getting out of the helicopter in Revolve silver coat, AQAQ lilac top and Silk Fred silver boots.
When? For the third and final stop in our mini US road trip with Visit California we were invited to LA’s trendy party neighbourhood of West Hollywood aka Weho. There’s just so much to see and do here that I decided to give you a little run down of what to do in 48 hours in West Hollywood, to really get a feel for this cool up and coming area.
Here’s my Style traveller guide to LA’s Best Insta Locations and What to do in West Hollywood…
Where we stayed? Palihouse is West Hollywood’s latest and greatest hotel. With rustic, eclectic, trendy interiors, an open air courtyard restaurant, roof top bar and fully furnished loft-apartment style bedrooms, complete with chesterfield sofas, kitchenettes and fantastic rain showers, this hotel oozes hipster chic. The downstairs bar and restaurant has become a hip hangout for West Hollywood’s creative crowd.
The lounge and bar area at Palihouse is full of eclectic furniture, tastefully curated to create a homely hipster feel.
The reception area is open plan, with the courtyard restaurant, lobby bars and lounges all interlinked.
A healthy breakfast at Mardi Restaurant on the ground floor.
Me posing on the chesterfield in my room at Palihouse. The large loft style rooms are beautfully decorated and kitted out as a fully furnished loft apartments, complete with kitchenette, washing machine and large bedroom, living room spaces.
Everyone in LA is obsessed with fitness, so to really get into to lifestyle start your day with a workout like the locals do and head to Tantris Yoga, the prettiest hot yoga school in West Hollywood. Enjoy a mindful class of downward dogs and head stands, shower with Aveda products in the changing rooms, then head downstairs to have a browse around the boho shop, filled with cool yoga gear and holistic treats.
Oh and as a bonus bit of exercise why not take a morning hike on Runyon Canyon, it’s the trek that all the celebs do! Be armed with water and wear proper sportswear, it’s a great workout.
Me in one of the gorgeous yoga studios at Tantris.
Brunching is a thing in LA! Head to Sunset Boulevard for a whole street of lovely brunch restaurant options. The trendiest spot right now is the Eveleigh and another favourite of mine is The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappucino Maker Pictured above and below. They do a fantastic unicorn coffee perfect for Instagram (pictured below)!! Another great Weho brunch spot is the new Cafe Gratitude, which is part of the Tantris Yoga group.
The unicorn coffee at BBCM cafe above and below The Eveleigh by night.
Pictured above the gorgeous interiors at The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappucino Maker.
If you want to hit the shops then rather than Rodeo Drive head to the trendy new shopping area Melrose Avenue. It’s much cooler than it’s old school counterpart, which is filled with Louis Vuitton and Prada. Melrose aims at a slightly different, younger, more hipster crowd and has boutiques like Chloe, Isabel Marant and The Row.
Walk a bit further up the strip away from the main drag of shops and you’ll come across two famous Insta land marks. Firstly the famous Paul Smith Store (the one with the pink walls) and keep walking for another 5-10 minutes (away from the boutique shops and the area starts to look a little more edgy) and you’ll come across the angel wings mural, which is one of LA’s most instagrammed spots. (Which was the opening shot of this blog).
Dinner and drinks
LA is filled with the most amazing and usually healthy dining options. Here are some of my favourite spots for dinner.
The trendiest restaurant in West Hollywood at the moment is Gracias Madre. This vegan wonder restaurant is booked up every night so make sure to reserve a table well in advance. The dress code and stylish and the atmosphere chilled party vibes. It’s the best vegan Mexican in town. And don’t be put off by the vegan title, the food here is sensational, they have meat substitutes which even the most staunch meat eaters will love. (pictured above and below).
If you’re going for dinner and fancy a few drinks by the pool afterwards then head to the Sky Bar at the uber luxe Mondrian Hotel. The breathtaking views over West Hollywood from the fairy lit restaurant and outdoor club are incredible. After dinner head to the poolside, order a cocktail and dance till dawn. (pictured below)
For the party animals amongst you head for post-dinner drinks and high octane partying at celeb friendly, 1 Oak. Expect to rub shoulders with Leo Dicaprio and Bradley Cooper (both of whom frequent this establishment.)
Or try the iconic bar at the infamous Chateau Marmont, which is famed for rock legends throwing TV sets out of windows, celebs hosting weeklong parties in the suites and outrageously hedonistic behaviour. So outrageous in fact there are books written about it.
Pictured below, the main room at 1 Oak.
I booked a car from Rentalcars.com for 8 days for only £322 with GPS included.
Exactly? We stayed at the brand new Hotel Paseo in Palm Springs’ exclusive, luxury shopping district of Paseo.
When? April 2018 aka festival season!
Why? As part of the Road trip with Visit California, stop number two was one of my all time favourite places, Greater Palm Springs. I’d visited Palm Springs 2 years ago for the Coachella Festival, but as most of my time was spent in the festival grounds, so I was determined to revisit and discover this incredible city.
It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and interesting locations I’ve been to, a desert oasis, surrounded by snow capped mountains with breathtaking views in all directions and the mid-century architecture is inspirational. Greater Palm Springs (or GPS for short), is becoming one of the most popular instagram destinations, which is why, rather than 48 hours in Palm Springs I decided to devote this blog post to something way more useful to my fellow instagrammers and lovers of fashion, architecture and all things aesthetic….
Here’s the Style Traveller 10 Best Instagram Locations in Palm Springs plus Coachella Tips!
1 – The wind turbine city on the drive into Palm Springs
One of the most iconic insta shots in GPS, you’ll see even before you even enter the city limits! On your drive from LA to Palm Springs you’ll come across the majestic wind farms. Thousands of acres of desert land filled with gigantic, graceful and beautiful wind turbines. A good place to park to get great, undisrupted views of the turbines and the mountains beyond, is the Amtrak Train station car park, on your way into Palm Springs take exit 120, Indian Canyon Drive, pinpointed on this map link.
2 – Hotel Paseo – the one with the airstream caravan!
Many of the hotels in Greater Palm Springs adhere to the mid century aesthetic, incorporating quirky interiors, 50’s style architecture and bursts of kitch colour. The newest hotel in town (it literally opened its doors last month) is the trendy Hotel Paseo in the boutique shopping district of Paseo. Nestled in behind Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren, expect a chic clientele of trendy tourists, who’ve opted to stay here in order to utilise the brand new luxury spa and the AC3 restaurant, which is Palm Springs’ coolest restaurant of the moment, serving up delicious, beautiful plates of American, Mexican and world classics with decent portion sizes too. I highly recommend the Lobster Macaroni!
But the piece de resistance of the hotel has to be the chic, symmetrical pool area with a super trendy airstream caravan installation, it’s insta ready for you! The rooms are minimal and chic, with all mod cons including rain showers, kitchenettes, comfortable beds, stunning balconies views, abstract art works and our suite even came with a pool table and mini bar in case you fancy a late night party! How very Palm Springs!
Hotel Paseo’s trendy new AC3 restaurant with stylish interiors and abstract artwork and below the view from our balcony of the pool at The Paseo.
3 – Palm Springs Mod Squad Architecture Tours
Why not start off your trip with a guided tour by the super knowledgable (and enthusiastic) guys from The Palm Springs Mod Squad. It’s the best way to get acquainted with the iconic mid-century architecture style of the city, learn about its celeb history and see some incredible buildings and interiors, whilst getting the lay of the land.
You can pick from ‘martinis and mid century architecture tour’, interiors, essential Palm Springs or something more customised to what you’re interested in. Essential Palm Springs Tour costs $70 for a 90 minute guide and you meet at the famous Saguaro Hotel (aka the one that looks like a rainbow exploded on it, see below). Check out www.psmodsquad.com
Bonnie at the very insta friendly Hotel Saguaro wearing swimsuit by Primark above and orange jumpsuit by Asos below. Did someone say ‘pink wall!’
4 – Joshua Tree National Park
You can’t come to Palm Spring without taking a mini adventure into the desert to experience the truly epic Joshua Tree national park. It’s about an hours drive from Palm Springs through some otherworldly scenery, it is very impressive.
Once in the park make sure you have plenty of water, paper maps and petrol in the tank! The park is vast and it has limited mobile connection and no service areas like cafes. You really are out in the outback. But with this comes some seriously incredible back drops and almost lunar landscapes. From hundreds of miles of cactus fields to giant boulder ranges to mountains, it’s one of the most interesting and instagrammable destinations I’ve been to.
Entry costs $25, you’ll need a good few hours to even brush the surface, so make sure you have enough provisions and sunscreen with you. I’d definitely take a hat, proper walking shoes and covered shoulders if you plan to hike as the temperatures are searingly hot. Click hear for more details.
5 – The Parker Hotel
One of the chicest and perhaps most exclusive places to stay in Palm Springs is The Parker. Famed for it’s outlandish decor (see below), celeb guests and total privacy, The Parker is a decadent, bohemian hotel filled with objets d’art, quirky sculptures and the entrance… well if you like insta walls, take a look above!
6 – Sunnylands Center and Gardens
Frank Sinatra got married here, hundreds of celebrities, politicians and royal families have stayed there over the decades, famed as a classic mid-century modern building, with a pink roof, set in 15 acres of stunning gardens, Sunnylands is today a non profit making trust. You can visit the house and gardens for free and take some sublime insta shots while you’re at it! Pictured below.
7 – Palm Springs Art Museum
The building itself is a feat in modernist architecture but that’s just on the outside. Head in and you’ll be treated to a whole host of incredible exhibitions including the current Andy Warhol exhibition which is on until 28 May 2018. Adult entry is $12 Check www.psmuseum.org for listings.
8 – The Ace Hotel and Swim Club
Filled with murals and artworks, the super hipster Ace Hotel and swim club is not only a great place to stay, but also an instagrammers dream. The rooms are awash with retro inspired interiors, the food looks too good to eat (try the tacos!) and the vibe is ‘only trendy desert cool kids allowed’. The iconic mural below is a top insta spot.
9 – Flamingos at the JW Marriot
Palm Springs is famed for being kitch. If this city had a spirit animal it would be the flamingo. Et voila! Head to the entrance of the JW Marriot hotel and spa you’ll see a whole host of GPS’s spirit animals wandering around.
If like me you were visiting Palm Springs because of Coachella Festival, you may not have much time to check out the area outside of the festival grounds. But the famous murals all over Coachella town are well worth a visit if you have time. Here are a few other useful tips for festival first timers, especially ones coming from abroad.
You’re most likely going to be flying into LAX so you need to know, Coachella is not in LA, it’s a good 2 and 1/2 hour drive from LA in Greater Palm Springs. I would recommend hiring a car at the airport, staying 1 or 2 nights in LA to acclimatise to the time zone, then doing the drive to the festival once you’ve rested and settled in.
Unlike most European festival, activities such as drinking alcohol etc, are limited to designated areas within the festival. The only place you can have a drink in your hand while watching the..
Why? A few weeks ago the wonderful guys at Visit California invited me to experience a California road trip. Having done the route from San Francisco to LA a couple of years ago, I decided to try a different route, this time taking in a couple of less touristy spots on route to Coachella.
So the drive would take us from LA, to Newport Beach (aka the chichi harbour town from the TV series The OC), then to Greater Palm Springs, the home of Coachella music festival, ending with a couple of detox and chilled nights in trendy West Hollywood.
We booked a car from Rentalcars.com for 8 days for only £322 with GPS included, which we picked up at LAX airport on arrival. It was super easy to do.
Here’s my 48 hour guide to Newport Beach, the first stop on my mini California road trip… Where to stay in Newport Beach?
For the style travellers amongst us there is only one obvious option, the super luxurious and exclusive Resort at Pelican Hill. Situated atop 504 acres of breathtaking Californian coastline the hotel boasts 204 perfectly appointed bungalows, 128 dreamy villas, a world class golf course, a 22 private treatment room spa, eight dining options and one spectacular coliseum swimming pool.
The resort is vast and yet you always get the feeling of upmost privacy and the service is impeccable. It’s a wonderful hotel and I can see why so many a-listers choose to stay here for a little undisturbed r&r. It’s literally an hours drive from LA and situated in sunny Orange County where TV series The OC was set.
You can take your pic from one story luxury bungalows, which is where I stayed, or opt for 2,3 or 4 bedroom villas. All come with an in room Italian limestone fireplace, huge wide screen TV, free wifi, marble walk in showers, expresso makers and the cosiest beds with signature linen. Oh and did I mention the incredible balconies with views across the grounds?
Elegantly decorated bedrooms with neutral oatmeal tones, gorgeous soft furnishings, wooden beam ceilings and incredible sea views from the balconies.
The living and dining room in the villas are beautifully furnished too, with literally everything you need. When can I move in!Bonnie wears blue dress by Silk Fred on the bedroom balcony enjoying an al fresco breakfast with a view of the Pelican Hills terracotta rooftops. So pretty!
The view of the Coliseum Pool from the restaurant. The swimming pool is huge, it was possibly the best pool for swimming laps in any hotel I’ve ever stayed in.Don’t forget your goggles! There are plenty of day beds for everyone and waitresses and tanning butlers on stand by, in case you need an iced lemon water or a quick spritz of suncream.
Time for a spot of sunbathing before dinner. Below at night the Coliseum restaurant becomes a romantic, candle lit spot over looking the turquoise waters of the pool and the ocean beyond. There are 8 separate dining options at the hotel including the Pelican American grill, three cafes to in-room dining. There’s so many options you really don’t need to leave the hotel.
We only had 2 nights in Newport Beach before heading on to our next road trip destination, but we managed to pack as much as possible into the itinerary. I would have been equally happy spending a little bit more time at the hotel too so do try and factor that in if you can.
Start the morning off with a healthy breakfast at the Beachcomber Café. Enjoy sunny views over the stunning Crystal Cove beach and beyond whilst chowing down on Huevos Rancheros, or Mexican eggs and guacamole breakfast to you and me! Yum!
The Beachcomber cafe is super instagrammable and the little shops and gallery in the area (pictured below) are so quaint and pretty.
In the list of top 5 things to do in Newport Beaches, hiring a Duffy boat keeps coming out at the top. That’s because the perfect way to see Newport is from the sea. Hire a duffy by the hour from the harbour front and take a tour around the local landmarks and sites. You may even see George Clooney’s house if you’re lucky! Self drive hire boats are available from boats4rent.
As if boating wasn’t enough water based activity, we decided to do an afternoon of SUP (stand up paddle boarding) just to really be at one with the sea. The waters here are so calm and relaxing you can drift by the super yachts and million dollar mansions at your own pace, don’t go out too far though, the row back is always harder than the outward journey! We got our boards from Bliss Paddle Yoga.
Well that was a hectic day. Final stop is dinner at trendy new Italian spot Fig & Olive, FYI there is a Nobu in Newport, but having spent a long weekend at Nobu Marbella last week, we fancied a little variety. The food here is delicious and the fairy lit kitchen garden and outdoor fireplaces all conjure up a little bit of Italy in heart of California. Very romantic and great food.
That’s all from Newport Beach, thank you so much to the stunning Resort at Pelican Hill for an incredible stay. It really is the perfect place for a luxurious, pampering stay.
Next stop on the California road trip, Greater Palm Springs and Coachella… See you next time.
Why? I was super lucky to be invited to the grand opening weekend of luxury Nobu Hotel Marbella, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and part of the internationally acclaimed Nobu restaurant and hospitality group.
For the grand opening of the exclusive luxury hotel Nobu Marbella, they invited a group of over a hundred of the worlds best luxury travel influencers, models, celebs and party people to stay for a few nights and sample all the fantastic services the hotel has to offer.
From chic, elegant rooms with beautiful balcony views, unlimited food and drinks at the hotels various restaurants and bars, including Nobu Restaurant itself, to massages and treatments at the Six Senses Spa, hiring bikes, tennis, golf lessons, you name it, you could do it. And best of all we had oodles and oodles of free time to enjoy it all and get those instagram shots in. And boy did we enjoy it!!
The official partners of the event included luxury Vodka brand Grey Goose who hosted some fun daytime parties by the beach, through to cocktails and carnage all night long in the open air plaza and the decadent basement nightclub.
Above from left to right my gorgeous instagram girls @majamalnar, @miss_gunner, me, @doubletroubleblog and @themexiquer. Cheers ladies!
Every day we were treated to incredible goodies and wonderful instagram set ups so we could get that elusive insta shot!
Above, breakfast goals with your own cutter station to create the perfect food flatlay and below the perfect outdoors breakfast location at the Alhambra restaurant.
Built within the exclusive Puento Romano village complex famed for its celeb guests and world class tennis tournaments, the new inclusion of the Nobu restaurant and Nobu Hotel gives the complex an added injection of cool. Renowned for exceptional food and playing host to the international jet set, Nobu fits the bill perfectly.
The beautiful suites and rooms are light and bright with neutral tones, minimal spaces are swathed in white tulle with oriental and Moroccan zen touches, but first and foremost they are slick and extremely stylish. From Japanese toto toilets (which I love, the ones with in built water jets and dryers), huge glass and stone wet room showers, to banging bluetooth sound systems and tons of presents, free fruit, alcohol, chocolates, even super cute Japanese flip flops for the beach and the cosiest fluffy slippers for the room, you wont want for anything, I could have happily stayed in the room all day.
In the grounds the walk ways and public spaces are traditional Spanish style white washed buildings with terracotta paving. Fairy lit flower arches and colourful flower pots are dotted around everywhere, including hanging from the walls like mini wall gardens.
Every day treats in the form of nibbles, chocolates, fruit platters and champagne were delivered to the room. They certainly know how to make their guests feel special.
What to do in the day
Being in a great central position in Marbella, right on the golden mile beach, you can take your pick from the two chic outdoor pool areas, play tennis in one of the 10 professional courts at the Tennis Club, golf, any number of beach activities, indulge in the spa or eat yourself silly at the incredible restaurants, the choice is yours.
If you fancy venturing out of the hotel grounds take a 20 mins walk along the beach in either direction and you’ll end up in the swanky, super-yacht lined marina of Puerto Banus or in the opposite direction is the quaint and pretty traditional Old Town Marbella, pictured below.
After indulging in all the food and partying, you can retreat to the most blissful surroundings of the Six Senses Spa. Offering a state of the art gym facility, innovative hydrotherapy water circuit, as well as incredible treatments which can be taken in the nurturing indoor therapy rooms or under the outdoor cabanas with the warm, sea breeze dancing across your skin, whatever you pick spas don’t get much better than this.
Food and Drink
With the world renowned Japanese restaurant Nobu on site, meal times become something of a special event. Famed for making their signature dish of Black Cod in Miso, if you’ve never had this dish prepared by Nobu, you haven’t lived, or so they say! As well as that, the sushi and Asian fusion menu on offer is to die for. This is food at its very best. If you’re staying at the hotel you must dine at the restaurant at least one evening.
The restaurant plaza is built for al fresco dining and socialising. It’s very informal, it’s all about enjoying yourself in the relaxed glamour of this beautiful venue. Below the famous Black cod in miso, Nobu’s signature dish.
After dark is when Nobu really comes into its own. Choose from drinks under the fairy lit canopy in the open air Plaza courtyard. The Ibiza tunes rev up and get louder as the night goes on.
You can also enjoy cocktails and dancing in La Terrace bar (pictured above) or for the serious party animals head to the sound proof basement nightclub La Suite, which doesn’t even open before 1am!
Below me and the gang enjoying Grey Goose Martinis and edamame, just before the bar got rammed and the tunes ramped up. This is one party hotel that is not going to let you go to sleep till dawn, so be warned!
Above left to right, Charlie_Vandenberg, me, Miss Gunner, Mister Gunner, Double Trouble Blog and Maja Malnar.
Below, Maja, me and Ashleigh Miss Gunner under the fairy lit hotel archway.
That’s all from the beautiful Nobu Hotel Marbella. Thank you for such an incredible stay.
Sumosan Twiga – London’s Coolest Italian Sushi Restaurant & Nightclub
Where?Sumosan Twiga, Knightsbridge, West London When? March 2018 Why? I live in London, a city that I adore. And I’m very proud to say it’s one of the best cities in the world when it comes restaurants, bars and clubs. So the bar is set very high, excuse the pun :) I don’t often do restaurant reviews, but when a venue comes along that I genuinely love, I want to share the news.
Eating sushi and partying are two activities that I love, but I wouldn’t normally do together. Which is why one of my new favourite restaurants in town is Sumosan Twiga – London’s Coolest Italian Sushi Restaurant & Nightclub – where the chic set eat, drink and party. And it just so happens the guys at Sumosan Twiga invited Charlie and I for dinner in order to review the fantastic food and great atmosphere! How could I resist.
Location, Location, Location
Tucked away on a quiet passageway just off London’s luxurious Sloane Street, Sumosan Twiga invites diners to exceptional cocktails and a split menu of Japanese and Italian specialities, all set in an ultra chic environment with a chilled house music soundtrack.
The brain child of Flavio Briatore; of Formula One fame, who also owns a string of exclusive, international, hospitality offerings under the name Billionaires Club; and Janina Wolkow, one of London’s ‘young gun restaurateurs’ as named by the Evening Standard, when she pioneered the luxury Sumosan brand. After the success of Wolkow’s Sumosan pop up at Briatore’s Monte Carlo Restaurant Twiga, they decided to join forces and create Sumosan Twiga in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge area.
Combining the Italian spirit and traditional culinary flavours of Monaco’s famed Twiga restaurant with the reputation of Mayfair’s legendary Japanese favourite ‘Sumosan’, Sumosan Twiga offers an elegant three floor gastronomic residence with the energy of a private club.
Two menus pack a sophisticated punch, where Venetian-inspired Italian classics sit along side an innovative Japanese menu. The glamourous clientele can enjoy the very best dishes from east to west.
For pure sushi theatre, the open kitchen takes a corner of the first-floor restaurant, where its show-stopping signature plates are created, from Truffle Hamachi Tiradito, New Style Sashimi to its delicious ‘Billionaire Rolls’.
Japanese meets Italian all on one table and it makes an usunually fantastic pairing! I think I may have over ordered! oh well, better get stuck in :)
Super sleek, seductive interiors are designed by Italian architect Michele Bonan, renowned for his work with the Ferragamo fashion family.
The first-floor dining room is a light open space, predominantly monochrome with traditional, elegant touches. Chic black-wood floors are accented by classic European stucco details, Japanese hand painted screens are juxtaposed with beautifully crafted Italian furnishings in cool greys mixed with pops of bronze. Guests dine amongst oriental orchids and a beautifully curated art collection including African photography pieces by Blu Bonan.
Taking the Sumosan Twiga experience in to the night, the restaurant’s underground lounge is inspired by the Twiga Late Night Lounge born in Monaco by Briatore’s ‘Billionaire Life’ hospitality brand. The London lounge, an intimate space designed with references to Briatore’s love affair with Africa, regularly hosts bespoke events as part of its private events’ schedule and post dinner party revelry too.
Image above is the chic masculine second floor bar and below the basement club.
Dario Ciaramella is the head mixologist at Sumosan Twiga. Born in Naples Ciaramella has worked in his home city, London and Rome. You can indulge in some seriously fun cocktails at the upstairs bar and the basement club.
I had the Wasabi Margherita which came with it’s own cone filled with fiery wasabi peas clipped to the side of the glass. This one is not for the faint hearted.
That’s all from me in London. Thank you Sumosan Twiga for a wonderful dinner and experience. Next stop Marbella…
Sumosan Twiga is open for lunch from 12.00 to 15.00 and for dinner from 18.30 to 02.00. Price £££.