Recently I spent five days at the luxury five-star Hillside Beach Club in Fethiye, Turkey, as part of their Global Influencer Meet-up. Every year they hold the meet-up with influencers from key markets all over the world, and this year I was incredibly lucky to be one of them. I had THE BEST time ever over my five days there, and have so much to tell you all about and so many photos to share of the beautiful resort! So, grab a cuppa (or cocktail!) and settle down, this is a big one...
I actually can't believe this is my last USA Roadtrip post! I got back from my trip nearly two months ago now, but what with it being a 2.5 week trip I had SO MUCH to share with you all and it's taken me forever to go through my thousands of photos. We finished our huge Chicago to New Orleans roadtrip (we drove from Chicago, to St Louis, Nashville, Memphis, Mississippi) in...you guessed it...New Orleans! NOLA was a total dream. It was exactly how I remembered it, and it was exactly how I had imagined it in my head. You know when you've been somewhere as a child and you think "was it really like that?!" well it was, and this time going as an adult was so much better!
In case you didn't already know, we actually built our entire trip around going to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. My friend Clare and I are both literature buffs, and being fans of Tennessee Williams' plays, we had been planning to sign up for the festival and use it as a great excuse to create an epic trip! The trip took over a year to plan and although we spent a fair amount of our time in NOLA at various talks and workshops with the festival, we still saw and did loads outside of the festival as well! Now, in case you haven't realised...this post is going to be HUGE. It's going to be long. With a lot of photos. So grab a cuppa and settle down...
It had been a while since I took a staycation in my own city, and so when the invitation came through to review the new Sloane Place hotel just down the road from me in Chelsea, I jumped at the chance! I had seen Mina's glowing review shortly before my visit, which made me even more excited to check out Chelsea's newest boutique hotel offering.
Right on the corner of Lower Sloane Street and Turk's Tow just a short walk from Sloane Square, it's the perfect location for shopping on King's Road, drinking atThe Botanist, and dining at the likes of Colbert, as well as nearby Polpo and Gallery Mess on Duke of York Square! Not to mention the Royal Court Theatre, Cadogan Hall, and the Saatchi Gallery are just a stones throw away for any culture vultures...
I'm a notorious over-packer when I have a large luggage allowance...but when I'm restricted to carry on only, I'm pretty great at planning outfits to make the most of the small weight and space. Recently American Tourister got in touch and asked me to test out their very stylish new Wavebreaker cabin case (gifted), which has the most gorgeous velvet detailing, so I thought it was time to put it to the test with my recent trip to Turkey, and tell you all how I travel with just hand-luggage!
I feel as though everywhere we went on our big Chicago to New Orleans roadtrip, was my favourite place. I totally fell in love with so many places we visited. But Mississippi really captured my heart. After driving fromChicago to Nashville to Memphis and seeing not a whole lot on the entire drive, it was magical to suddenly enter Mississippi and be surrounded by lush grass and tall trees! Being around nature again was just the best.
As part of our roadtrip from Chicago to New Orleans, we stopped off in Memphis for three nights and two full days. Like Nashville, I'd previously visited Memphis 14 years ago, when I was 14-years-old! I was intrigued to see what it was like, and although I LOVED the food, I didn't love the city as much as I did Nashville and New Orleans. But, although I didn't feel as at-home in Memphis as I did in Nashville and NOLA, I still had THE BEST time and really want to share our epic Memphis itinerary with you!
We spent three nights at the luxury 5-star The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville and loved our stay so much I just had to tell you all about it! The hotel's 1908 Beaux-Arts lobby is just breathtaking and we completely adored the painted glass ceiling and plush, ornate surroundings. It was Nashville’s first ‘Million Dollar hotel’, opening in 1910 and named after seventh President Andrew Jackson’s nearby estate, The Hermitage.
A little while ago I told you all about the luxury property investment firm, The Hideaways Club. They have so many dreamy properties in their collection all over the world, and so as part of my collaboration with them I wanted to tell you all about the ten dreamiest properties in The Hideaways Club City & Classic Collections!
I completely fell in love with Nashville. I already had amazing memories from the city from when I visited 14 years ago, when I was 14-years-old (yep, exactly half my lifetime ago), but this time just cemented my love for the home of Country Music. The city feels safe, relaxed, and there is live music absolutely everywhere you go! I've been so so so excited to share this city guide with you, and I really hope it helps and gives you an idea of what we did and what we loved most!
As our trip was so intense and hectic (we drove from Chicago down to New Orleans, covering around 1,400 miles, in just two weeks), we really didn't want to rush around each city we visited and wanted to see a few key things and actually enjoy them and really spend our time taking it all in. This worked really well for us, and ensured we pretty much did everything on our list and also weren't rushing to see it all!
I've been a huge fan of Langham Hotels for a few years now, having stayed at Langham London, Langham New York, and Langham Sydney. So when I noticed there was a Langham in Chicago, I knew I had to stay there and see how it compared to the others. With two nights there, it certainly didn't disappoint, and we really loved our entire stay. The spa was especially welcome after a rather long indirect flight! So let me tell you more...
We arrived late Saturday afternoon to a glorious sunny day, and a very green Chicago River! It was St Patrick's Day weekend in Chicago, and the city had dyed the river green with eco-friendly dye to celebrate. We were staying in a club level room so took the elevator up to the club level to check-in. As always check-in was very quick, and before we knew it we were opening the door to our room (after dragging out suitcases across the carpeted hallway - WHY do hotels insist on carpet in hallways, it really doesn't make it easy for suitcases).
Apologies but half of these photos are from the hotel - most of my photos didn't come out so good, and originally I wasn't going to review it on here but we loved it so much I really wanted to share it!
We were staying in an Executive Club Room, with twin beds, a huge amount of space, and the most INCREDIBLE view over the bright green river! We also had a separate wardrobe and dressing table area off to the side of the huge entry hallway, and a beautiful marble and white granite bathroom. The bathroom I think is one of my favourites, and I loved how they maximised the smaller space to ensure guests can still enjoy a separate shower and a big soaking bath tub, by creating a sort of wet room with the shower and bath behind a glass panel.
The Club Level itself was brilliant, and one of the best club evels I've experienced. The food was AMAZING and I loved the huge donuts at breakfast, and the snack/chocolate/sweet station in the afternoons! I find it quite unusual to be served decent food in club levels, but this one was really standout.
On the afternoon we arrived in Chicago we were absolutely exhausted from waking up at 3am to get to the airport, and were in desperate need of some relaxation! Thankfully Langham Chicago have a really incredible spa, so we spent an hour or two chilling out there. There are two different types of steam room, a sauna, a swimming pool, jacuzzi, and a relaxation room with heated loungers.
The only thing I was a little disappointed about was that at check-in they didn't explain what was included with the Club Level. For example we weren't notified that we could use a complimentary town car service, which would have come in handy a couple of times when we went out for dinner and cocktails. We also didn't get a personal escort to show us around the room and instead had to figure it all out (there were some complicated buttons!).
Apart from that minor disappointment, our entire stay was wonderful and we loved every minute!