Recently, I was in Amsterdam to celebrate a friend’s birthday and stayed at the Okura. Although I haven’t been in a long time, I’m a big fan of Amsterdam. Great people, amazing art, the coolest bike culture — it’s hard not to have a great time. (Well, there is the horizontal rain from time to time, but still…) I also love Japanese culture, so the Okura worked out perfectly for me. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the Okura is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. If you’re looking for “boutique,” this is not for you. However, although it is a large hotel, the public spaces typically have an amazing zen-like calmness. Three things stand out from my weekend: the gorgeous indoor pool, the ease of getting into central Amsterdam, and THE FOOD. I was with my family and we still talk about the incredible Teppanyaki experience we had at Sazanka. Dishes are prepared on a hot iron griddle right in front of you by chefs who are so serene … yet dazzle! This is not a gimmicky, showy affair. The chefs are just perfect. The food is delicious. Period. The Okura (no stranger to having Michelin-starred restaurants) has three other acclaimed restaurants here as well.
After seeing amazing art at The Rijks Museum (I could have looked at Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” for hours…my husband and daughter had other ideas) and walking around the city center (and, yes, dodging some dedicated cyclists), the rain started and we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the beautiful pool and its atrium-like setting. A great place to swim (my daughter) or just relax (hello!) on a chaise and sip something delicious. Beautiful spa and gym as well.
NB: Breakfast is fantastic! Served in the restaurant Le Camelia. Beautiful classic buffet, plus traditional Japanese. Staff is wonderful. Such a happy way to start the day.
Hotel Okura Amsterdam
The Body Holiday, St. Lucia
Here’s one to put on your calendar. Yamuna Zake is leading her first Body School at The Body Holiday in St. Lucia. If you haven’t heard of Yamuna, this is a good day. She created a program for movement that focuses on proper alignment. Her goal is to teach her students body sustainability. I have taken her classes. They will change your body and your relationship to your body. You start by focusing on your feet with a special ball called a “foot saver,” and soon realize how much we all neglect two of the most important things we rely on every single day. I’ve met women in their seventies who were able to avoid hip, knee, and back surgery by practicing the various methods she teaches in her classes. It works! The basic method involves small, medium and large balls that you use to target different areas of your body. (Have a look at the photo above.) This falls under the genre of methods of movement that engage your deep faschia, the connective tissue that attaches different muscles and organs. When you engage faschia, you release trapped physical and, many believe, emotional energy. The result? You can expand and lengthen rather than contract.
And what better place to expand than in stunning St. Lucia with none other than Yamuna teaching you how herself? Dates are April 26th – May 1st, 2017.
This is truly exciting. Wanderfuel is a new company that wants to revolutionize how we eat while traveling. I think it’s pretty safe to say that more often than not, your typical in-flight meal will leave you wanting … and wistful. Wanderfuel wants to change all that. Well-curated (and beautifully designed) boxes are filled with snacks that are delicious, help you feel energized, and are easy on your digestion. Sample goodies you might find in a box are coconut chips, “Raw Gorilla” granola snack packs, chia treats, and mushroom coffee. (Yes, you read that correctly.) So now you have a choice: do you want to land feeling bloated and cranky, or feeling refreshed both inside and out? Did I forget to mention Wanderfuel also has a Refresh & Recharge: Spa Kit as well? What snacks do you usually bring when you travel?
Along with legions of other fans, I look so forward to my morning tea ritual. It’s calming, delicious, and I’m quite certain it makes me a nicer person for my family and the world at large. When I travel, I’m all for embracing newness, being out of my comfort zone, and all of those great unscripted and unexpected moments that can be pure gold. That is except for my morning tea ritual. Teapigs is my go-to for Matcha-on-the-go. Started by two Brits a decade ago, teapigs sells a lovely selection of teas from all over the world. The owners are focused on finding the purest leaves, and on a mission to get people to drink REAL tea again. Also, no pretentious attitudes allowed. They want one and all to discover and revel in the pleasures of drinking REAL tea. But, back to the Matcha. The tea comes in convenient little packets that are perfect for travel. And, although I love my bamboo whisk, they even have a great metal whisk that comes in it’s own case — perfect for travel.
Entering The Laslett is like walking into someone’s cool London townhouse. Black and white tiled floors, gorgeous art and photography books galore. Design touches like Prouvé chairs, velvet banquettes, etc., make you feel like you’re exactly where you need to be. There’s a brightness to the whole place. On the ground floor, three separate sitting/dining/tea/daydreaming areas allow you to soak up the atmosphere and art. I stayed in a Master Bedroom Suite, which was perfect for the three of us. I also saw a deluxe room — perfect for solo travelers or couples. As a bathroom lover, the tubs, sinks, and fittings brought to mind a classic English bathroom made for long, decadent baths. Yes, please! Food was great and I loved that there were cold-pressed juices and several gluten-free options available. It felt good to be here. Zero chaos. AND you’ve got Notting Hill right out your door. Sad to leave! I’ll be back.