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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

sumoI’ll be the first to admit that I don’t need another bag. Like any good girly-girl, I’ve got too many bags and too many pairs of shoes. My mother tells me that my obsession with shoes began at a very young age so it was only natural that when I got my first job as a teenager, it was at a shoe store at the mall up the street from our house. But the obsession, I think, isn’t so much about quantity as it is about quality. And by quality, I don’t mean outrageously expensive, hand-crafted, imported Italian leather. I’m talking more about utility. For years, my favourite boots were a pair of synthetic platforms that cost about $40. But they were so versatile, they were the perfect pair. And so it is with my new favourite bag. The SUMO women’s laptop purse is so stylish and utilitarian, it was love at first sight. And then, as I began to use it, I really fell hard. It’s sleek, which I love; it doesn’t look like a laptop bag at all. And inside, there’s a cozy, corduroy-lined pouch for my computer. It fits sveltely inside, with plenty of room to spare for all the other odds and ends I lug around town. This bag is big on the details (did I mention the corduroy-lined pouch that I love?) – it’s got a printed interior and the fuchsia stitching on the exterior is the perfect finishing touch. The bag itself is nylon but the straps are a soft, pliable leather. Exterior pockets provide easy access to your phone or iPod. It’s stylish for toting about town and super-functional for traveling with.

Available at: mobileedge.com
Price: $129.99

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parkhyatt_medWhen it opened in September 2008, the Park Hyatt Shanghai officially became the highest hotel in the world. The elevator ride up to the lobby is long and full of anticipation. But as the elevator doors finally ease open to reveal the stunning 87th-floor lobby, the view does not disappoint. The dark mahogany wood of the reception area against pale coffee-coloured walls is rich and luxurious. The exceptionally high ceilings (unexpected in a high-rise building) give instant grandeur to the space and create an immediate sense of extravagant style.

Designed by New York–based Chinese-American interior designer Tony Chi, the rooms at the Park Hyatt Shanghai are nothing short of sophisticated. With high-tech features (remote controlled shades that, at the click of button, reveal a sweeping view of Shanghai, a television screen hidden in the bathroom mirror and a toilet that does everything but your laundry) and an otherwise minimalist decor, the rooms are a perfect mixture of modern American design and traditional Chinese Zen.

We checked in with Caitlin Hickey, a public relations representative for the hotel, to find out more about the inspiration behind the hotel’s beautiful design. Click here to read the interview.

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It’s been a few days but … back to my Indian adventure! After leaving the jungle, I was off to Mumbai, where I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai. This five-star luxury hotel was imposing and impressive, from the moment I stepped foot inside. I was pretty hungry on arrival and was thrilled to see the dining options, of which there were plenty. Dinner at the Italian restaurant Celini was delicious – I had a mouthwatering ossu bucco (I’d had my fill of curry and needed a change!). China House serves a menu of typically Chinese cuisine and M is a grill and martini bar. Of course, there’s an Indian restaurant, too; Soma dishes up authentic regional and tandoor-grilled cuisine.

mumbai-grand-hyattThe rooms are bright and tranquil and feel strangely out-of-place amidst the chaos of Mumbai that resides right outside the hotel grounds. But it’s a welcome respite and a wonderful place to rest and relax after wandering the streets of one of the world’s most intriguing cities. Pictured here is the Grand King room, with floor-to-ceiling windows (you can have a courtyard or city view) and the minimalist, modern decor is totally Zen. Crisp, white linens, golden Jaisalmer stone (an Indian sandstone) and light sycamore wood paneling give the 40-square-meter interior a spacious and airy feeling and ensure a good night’s sleep. Sweet dreams!

Click here for more information on the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai.

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baghvan_lobbyNext up on the itinerary: A stop in the Indian jungle to go on safari! Here, I stayed at the wonderful Baghvan Pench Jungle Lodge. When I wasn’t out on an early morning (or mid-afternoon) game drive, searching for the ever-elusive tigers and leopards that roam Pench National Park, I was hanging out in the luxurious accommodations at the resort. Pictured above, you can get a sense of the “lobby” that greets guests. More like a living room in a thoughtfully designed home, this space gives an immediate sense of the style and intimacy guests can expect to find here. Cocktails here in the evenings give guests the opportunity to meet other guests and make you feel at home rather than “at hotel”.

baghvan_bedroomThe bedrooms are equally as welcoming. Featuring soaring ceilings and a rather rustic exterior (this is the jungle, after all!), the interiors are warm, comfortable and cozy. On cold nights, guests return to their rooms to find hot water bottles warming their bed and early morning tea and biscuits brought to the door are an exceptional way to start the day. There are many amazing resorts and hotels all over the world but this one, nestled deep in the heart of the Indian jungle, was truly special. Aside from the stylish accommodations and the surrounding natural beauty, here, heart, hospitality and friendship come first. Quite unexpectedly, I found myself shedding a few tears to leave the friends I’d made on my much-too-short stay.

For more information, visit andbeyondindia.com

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Many North Americans are unfamiliar with the Shangri-La hotel chain but that is soon about to change! This leading Asia-based luxury hotel group has 58 deluxe hotels and resorts in major Asian and Middle Eastern cities and is known throughout Asia as a premiere destination for business and leisure travelers alike. But get ready – the Shangri-La’s expansion plans are bold and the chain will roll out a number of North American launches in the next few years, starting with Vancouver (2009) and followed by Toronto, New York and Chicago (2011).

shangri-laYesterday, I started to tell you about a recent trip to India. While I was in New Delhi, I had the great pleasure of spending one night at the Shangri-La there. The hotel has 320 guest rooms and suites and the decor of the rooms is warm and inviting. I loved the dark woods and the colours, echoing shades of paprika and saffron, seemed fitting in this place so well known for its spices.

What is your favourite hotel? I’d love to hear from you about places you’ve stayed and loved.

For more hotel-inspired design ideas, check out Style at Home’s Hotel Style section.

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I love to travel. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. There’s such a thrill that comes with packing your bags (the more last-minute, the better!), jumping on a plane and heading somewhere, anywhere. Travel has become so accessible these days that we’re all doing it more and more. And I don’t know about you, but it’s not just exploring new destinations that thrills me. It’s that feeling of checking into a gorgeous hotel and knowing that I’ll be calling it home sweet home for a short while. I love beautiful hotels with rooms that issue a warm welcome the moment you step foot inside.

Pictured above (1) is Toronto’s Hotel Le Germain. This boutique hotel beautifully merges cozy and chic and everything about this room says calm comfort to me. I just want to curl up with a good book on that big comfy bed!

Pictured above (2) is a room across the globe at the Wailea Beach Villas in Maui. This room evokes a whole different feeling, drawing inspiration from the colours of nature on the island. The room feels bright and sunny and the blue and green accents are reminiscent of the Pacific.

Thinking about a vacation yet?

For more inspiration from hotel decor, check out styleathome.com’s series Hotel Style – you’ll find beautiful hotel interiors with ideas you can copy at home.

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