Camping & Glamping

Oscar Swag Bags Soar to New Heights

terravelo tours oscars 2015

[trip style = luxury]

While the Oscars are, like, so 10 days ago, the six-figure swag bag is NOT. Because who needs a gold statue when you can go glamping, travel on a luxury train through the Canadian Rockies or stay at a 10-room villa in Tuscany?

The glitzy gift bag, which only went to nominees like Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Bradley Cooper, Steve Carell and Benedict Cumberbatch in the acting and directing categories, takes Oscar contenders from red carpet to runway with these jet-set escapes worth more than US$38,000.

Trip Style = Glamping
TerraVelo Tours’ opulent-meets-outdoorsy glamping trip takes Oscar contenders from Hollywood to Heaven-on-earth in the most awe-inspiring alcoves of Wyoming, California and Utah. Here, guests are wooed with A-list amenities from plush memory-foam beds with Frette linens to "transportable luxury bathrooms” stocked with C.O. Bigelow toiletries and Turkish towels. Couple these frills with the option to go surfing, cycling, hot air ballooning, or do sunrise yoga, and we’d like to put our name forward to be Bradley Cooper’s +1. 

Trip Style = Train
For those red carpet regulars who just can't give up the red carpet treatment, the Rocky Mountaineer has them covered. The luxury train company unfolds a red carpet every time guests step on and off the train. I experienced this journey first-hand a few years ago, and here's an except of the ride, touted as one of the "top five trains in the world" by Conde Nast Traveller.

"Meandering past frothing rivers, glassy lakes and snow-coned peaks in my glass-domed car, I was briskly reminded that I live in a place sought out by both seasoned and trip-of-a-lifetime travelers for its wild open spaces. On the Rocky Mountaineer, you co-exist with nature while dining on exec chef-prepared meals and drinking Canadian chardonnay. At one point, I remember rushing to my coach's outside viewing area to snap the scenery, camera in one hand, wine in another. At that moment, a smile came to my face. I was relaxed, well fed and wonderstruck in my own backyard."

rocky mountaineer oscar 2015

Trip Style = Luxury
Fancy a nine-night lesson in la dolce vita? First stop: Tuscany, where nominees can unwind in Villa Armena, a grand late-Renaissance-era villa only 20 minutes from Siena. From there, they can stop for an espresso with George and Amal in Lake Como at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, an Art Nouveau palace with a floating pool on the lake and a spa with panoramic views of the ritzy region. Finally, the stars will jet-set to Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, a 180-year-old property perched on the Amalfi Coast, surrounded by a five-acre Mediterranean garden. 

 Villa Armena

Villa Armena

[photos via travel providers]

Joshua Tree

[trip style = active & adventure + weekend getaway]

It's hard to explain Joshua Tree to someone who's never been; it's a magical desert landscape that must be experienced because words can't describe this strange and surreal corner of the world.

"Somewhere in America, about two and half hours inland from the Los Angeles sprawl is another America, a stranger one. There's a long tradition of people coming out here to get away or to simply get weird. And once you're past Palm Springs and into the high desert, people start to vibrate at a different pitch than they do elsewhere." [No Reservations: US Desert]

Joshua Tree is a dusty and desolate community about an hour from Palm Springs, where new age spiritualists, artists, musicians, hippies, hikers and even Marines (thanks to its proximity to the world's largest Marine base) coexist. 

Neighboring Joshua Tree National Park houses the Mojave and Colorado Deserts and is known for its eponymous trees, ancient rock formations and pop culture prominence. You may remember the episode of Entourage in which the gang took a trip to the park for another type of "trip" on a search for clarity. And I have to mention U2's iconic album, The Joshua Tree, which was inspired by American desert landscapes, physical as well as metaphorical and spiritual, though not Joshua Tree itself. Bono chose the title on a trip to the Mojave to shoot album photos. The band came across a single Joshua tree about 200 miles from the park and the tree inspired the title and the album packaging.

Legend has it that Joshua trees were named by Mormon travelers in the mid-19th century who believed the trees looked like Joshua lifting his hands in prayer. These Dr. Seussical trees can live, incredibly, for hundreds of years. 

 Driving through Joshua Tree National Park

Driving through Joshua Tree National Park

Visiting Joshua Tree

After three visits to the 800,000-acre park, I've barely scratched the surface and have kept primarily to the paths well traveled. While it's an excellent day trip from Palm Springs, to really experience the park, you need to camp or stay nearby.

If you only have a day, enter from the Joshua Tree gate and explore Jumbo Rocks, Arch Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden and Keys View. The high desert is known for its extreme weather, so remember to pack accordingly {good shoes, a hat, an extra layer, lots of water}. A one-day vehicle pass costs $15.

 The Shadow Mountain Band at Pappy & Harriet's

The Shadow Mountain Band at Pappy & Harriet's

Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace

Drive five miles off Twentynine Palms Highway, down a winding, lonely road, and you'll feel like you've traveled back in time to the Wild West. Built in the late 1940s by Hollywood stars like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, Pioneertown is an 1870s western town that served as both a film set and a small community with a motel, a bowling alley and a cantina. While the film crews have long departed, the cantina remains and houses an epic roadside bar that promises "live music, great barbecue and good times." 

I loved this desert watering hole so much that I visited twice on a trip to Palm Springs earlier this month. The perfect place to cap off a day at Joshua Tree, listen to live music, order a bourbon and eat a rack of ribs with fellow hikers, LA hipsters, bikers, baby boomers and desert dwellers. If you want to sit and eat, reservations are recommended on weekends {there was a two-hour table wait on the Saturday night we visited}. Pappy & Harriet's is a come-as-you-are bar that might be my new favorite place.

 Roadside rock formations

Roadside rock formations

 Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

 A cholla cactus and Skull Rock

A cholla cactus and Skull Rock

 Jumbo Rocks and sunset at Keys View

Jumbo Rocks and sunset at Keys View

 Sunset at Keys View

Sunset at Keys View

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

[photos by @heatherlovesit & @graceyvr]

Roam+Board :: Wya Point Resort

WyaPointResort

[trip style =  beach + weekend getaway + glamping]

What
Sitting in a coastal rainforest bordering the Pacific Rim, Wya Point Resort rendezvous you with nature in a way very few stays can. And while the forest-meets-beachfront location is one of the eco-resort's crowning glories, its connection to Canada's wild goes beyond the area's physical features. To me, it has to do with the owners, the Ucluelet First Nation, who have a strong and longstanding reverence for nature, and understanding of the land.

Counting a flock of campsites, 15 yurts, nine lodges and a bevy of private beaches under its wing, the 600-acre Wya Point Resort is a haven; the kind of place where you write a novel, watch the waves, walk for hours or wear the same sweater four days in a row.  

When we arrived for our weekend stay at the end of January, the sun was starting to set, bathing the resort’s private beach in a rose, blue and golden light so complex it would be difficult for Pantone to capture the color in a chip. So taken by the light peeking through the old-growth trees towering over the Pacific Ocean, we ran to the resort’s sandy cove before even setting foot in our oceanfront lodge {see photo below}.

Inside each cottage, built to LEED Platinum standards, it feels like you're still communing with the outdoors. The post-and-beam timber-frame construction lends the look, feel and smell of the forest, while gallery windows facing the Pacific provide a wide-angle view of the waves. Because of the resort's proximity to the beach, the sound of the sea never escapes you; at night I fell asleep to the tide rolling and retreating up and down the beach.

In the quietness of this moment, I was struck by the privilege of weekending on the Pacific Rim. To quote a line songstress Sarah McLachlan mused when gushing about the region {where she has a vacation home}, "it doesn't get more West Coast than this." 

Trip Styler approved.

Where
Located in Ucluelet, British Columbia, five hours from Vancouver {YVR} by car and a trip aboard BC Ferries, connecting the mainland with Vancouver Island.    

When
All year. 

Trip Styler Tip: Don't discount winter, aka storm-watching season, as a 'cool' time to visit. Watching the waves and wind rock n' roll is the ultimate West Coast experience.  

Who/Why
Ancient trees ground you. The ocean lulls you. Wildlife invigorates you. The wild moves you.        

Cost
Rates start at $115 per night for the yurts, and $169 per night for the lodges, and include WiFi, free parking and a serenity-now sunset view. 

Photos

 An arial glimpse of Wya Point Resort

An arial glimpse of Wya Point Resort

 Three of the nine one- and two-bedroom lodges

Three of the nine one- and two-bedroom lodges

 The view from my balcony over Ucluth Beach

The view from my balcony over Ucluth Beach

 The sun setting over the Pacific Ocean

The sun setting over the Pacific Ocean

 Beach life

Beach life

 The light was so gorgeous, we had to snap a Trip Styler crew photo {PS - the resort is pet-friendly}

The light was so gorgeous, we had to snap a Trip Styler crew photo {PS - the resort is pet-friendly}

 Sea life

Sea life

 Our one-bedroom lodge

Our one-bedroom lodge

 Our bedroom, which overlooked the ocean through a giant gallery window

Our bedroom, which overlooked the ocean through a giant gallery window

 Our sitting area //  Trip Styler Tip: Bring slippers to keep your feet toasty on the concrete and hardwood floors

Our sitting area // Trip Styler Tip: Bring slippers to keep your feet toasty on the concrete and hardwood floors

 Our kitchen {each lodge and yurt also comes with its own barbecue}

Our kitchen {each lodge and yurt also comes with its own barbecue}

 About to drink the local coffee provided for each lodge guest 

About to drink the local coffee provided for each lodge guest 

 The yurts

The yurts

 Inside the yurts, which feature a summer kitchen, a wood-burning stove for year-round heat, a dome skylight, and windows oriented toward the ocean for optimal wave-watching and privacy

Inside the yurts, which feature a summer kitchen, a wood-burning stove for year-round heat, a dome skylight, and windows oriented toward the ocean for optimal wave-watching and privacy

More Roam+Board
RIMBA Jimbaran Bali
Villa Samadhi - Kuala Lumpur
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
Four Seasons Hong Kong
Korakia Pensione - Palm Springs 
La Gazelle d'Or – Morocco
Mandarin Oriental – Las Vegas
Hotel Lone – Croatia

[photos by @tripstyler {except for first two and yurt photos}, taken while as a guest of the resort I've been longing to stay at since it opened.]

Stormwatching Ahoy

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[trip style = adventure + weekend getaway]

It’s not my norm to hunt for the perfect storm—as a general rule, I prefer mai tais on the beach—but when the Vancouver meteorologists informed me the skies would turn from grey to ghastly, I bolted to the edge of Canada’s West Coast to behold the eye of the storm. 

Located five hours from Vancouver via car and a ride aboard BC Ferries, the side-by-side sea-sprayed towns of Ucluelet and Tofino are one of Canada's first points of contact with the Pacific Ocean. To put things in perspective, if you had a NASA-grade telescope, you might spot Japan 7,400 kilometres in the distance.

Standing beside a kaleidoscope of kelp and grasses washed ashore by the enraged waves, I panned my surroundings only to realize I was straddling the divide between land and sea.

A place where the flow of frothy waves never takes a break, the towns have become famous for their physical features: multimile beaches, a centuries-old coastal rainforest, and inclement weather. During the winter—a.k.a., storm-watching season—these elements perform in a show so spectacular {see my Instagram video}, it's priceless. For VIP access, all you have to do is show up.

 Private beaches = VIP storm-watching at Wya Point Resort.  

Private beaches = VIP storm-watching at Wya Point Resort.  

Front Row Seats 
One of the best spots to savor winter storms in Ucluelet is at Wya Point Resort, a camping, glamping and lodge retreat perched over a series of private beaches. Here, walk a few steps to shore for a front row seat, or, watch the wind and waves waltzmake that rock n' rollfrom your lodge's balcony.

On Thursday I'm going to go more in-depth about the First Nations-owned Wya Point Resort, but in the meantime, check out their winter Stormwatching Package for $389 including two nights in a {gorgeous} one-bedroom lodge, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a pair of locally-made pottery mugs {BYO Baileys}. 

stormwatchingWyaPointResort

  [photos by @tripstyler]

Slideshow :: Best of 2014

TripStyler2014Best

[trip style = all] 

I know, I know; today we *should* be focusing on post-travel detox juices or healthy getaways to jump-start TS 2015, but in the name of zigging where others zag, and *hopefully* inspiring your 2015 travel plans, we're taking a step back before we move ahead.

Reminiscing about 2014 over the Christmas holidays, I was struck by how I'm keen to re-visit a bevy of the hotels and destinations that colored my year-in-travel. Waking up in Mexico on January 1st, and clocking my last set of air miles when visiting California in early December, 2014 saw me take about 40 trips.

Some were big, some were weekenders. Some were luxe, some were rustic. Some were zen, some were busy {with the addition of Baby Styler to the TS crew}. True to the Trip Styler mission, we covered every category of trip styling: active+adventure, beach+sun, food+wine, weekender, glamping, urban, luxe, steals, spa. 

Here's the best of the best. Stay + play details in each photo. 

PS - I case you missed it, Trip Styler Sis went all Scandi on me, and wrote travel guides to Denmark, Finland and Sweden

[photos by @tripstyler]