Spa

Trip Styling on a T+L "World's Best" Isle

Ischia Italy Trip Styler

[trip style = sun + beach + food + wine + spa + luxury + steal]

Once in a blue moon your travels feel almost anointed and you encounter a destination that moves you.

For me, this place is Ischia, Italy, a small island an hour by boat from Naples or Capri.  

I'm writing about my "spirit isle" again for two reasons:

1/ I was there at this exact time last yearsipping Rose, noshing on vine-ripened tomato bruschetta, lounging in a spring-fed spa, hanging at beach clubsand I desperately want to return. At the time, I declared to Mr. Trip Styler, "we should come back here every summer," to which he agreed since it's magical, gorgeous, dripping in dolce vita and well-priced. But, alas, it's now "this summer" and we are not in Italy! Well, sometimes life has other plans for you. More on that next week. Eeeeek!  

2/ I just read an article in Travel+Leisure about The Best Islands in Europe in light of their World's Best Awards survey, and Ischia came #1 on the list beating Sicily, Hvar and Santorini! AH, the secret is OUT. Don't go. Ok, go! This accolade is also an exciting confirmation in Trip Styler trend-casting given that I submitted Ischia to Expedia six months ago as a destination to watch in 2016!

[photos by @tripstyler]

Video: Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Island

video of fairmont orchid

[trip style = sun + spa + beach + luxury + food + wine]

After my second stay in three years at the AAA Four Diamond Fairmont Orchid, I wanted to show off the unique hotel in a short video {below}. Set over 32 acres of oceanfront along Hawaii Island's famed Kohala Coast, the 540-room resort combines the spaciousness of 24 football fields {approx}, with the seclusion of a boutique escape due to its wide-angle footprint and thoughtfully designed enclaves. 

Complete with all the accoutrements of a high-end propertythink: meandering pool, lagoon-style beach, multiple restaurants, spa, tennis, golf, kids club, etc...the escape has everything you need for a complete stay; so much so, when I visited with the Trip Styler crew {Mr. + Baby Styler} in late 2015 for five nights, we didn't leave the hotel once. We didn't need to. Note: Because we explored the island from its heights to its depths in past visits, this time we opted for c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e relaxation.

Video

Details
Who --> For families, honeymooners and couples who value well-groomed oceanfront stay complete with stunning sunsets, nightly. 
Where --> 45 mins from the Kona International Airport along the Kohala Coast.
Cost --> from $251 nightly + daily resort charge of $30.00 per room per night, which includes self-parking, basic internet access and more...

Trip Styler Tips for a Sweet Stay
* For an easy-breezy stay, consider staying on the Fairmont Gold floor with complimentary lounge access. While this option is a touch more pricey than the regular rooms, it's nice to have a dedicated concierge, breakfast, non-alcoholic bevs, teatime, and nightly appetizers always at the readya perk we really relished with Baby Styler in tow! 

* Book a treatment at the hotel's Spa Without Walls. Few spas in the world can open their doors and let nature in. Totally in. This spa is an exception. Here, 14 hales (huts) are perched at the ocean’s edge or atop waterfalls for a tropical take on rejuvenation. While just lying in my hale listening to water flow and birds chirp is almost a treatment unto itself, the Ali’i Experience adds a dose of regal to your relaxation. Designed with royalty (Ali’i) in mind, the 110-minute journey from your hut to Hawaiian heaven calms with a lomilomi massage, cleanses with a locally-sourced herb scrub, and culminates with warm coconut oil cascading down your scalp in an experience so pampered, it’s as though you’re being readied for your coronation.

* Don't miss the Fairmont's happy hour in Luana Lounge from 5pm-6pm daily. Also, every Friday, sample a complimentary taste of the island during Social Hour from 4pm-5pm.

* If you want to use beach gear such as snorkels and stand-up paddleboards for your entire stay, consider an Activity Pass instead of paying per use. Also, there are complimentary cultural hikes, daily arts and crafts and activities available through the hotel's Beach Club program.

* Fairmont president club members {a prog that is free to join} receive $10 off of a beach or pool cabana

[photos via @tripstyler taken while I was a partial guest of the resort, which I sought out during my Big Island visit because I enjoyed it so much the first time I stayed]

Why Ischia, Italy is A MUST for your Go-List

Ischia Italy Tips

[Trip Style = Sun + beach + food + wine + spa + luxury]

This past summer, during my month-long immersion into la dolce vita, I visited a place that captivated me to the point where I was lost for words {obviously, this doesn't happen often}. And so, I didn't write about it right away because I was still wrapping my head around its allure.

--->Photos Below<---

Seven months later, I've finally put my virtual pen to paper. Here's an except from my recent Destination to Watch in 2016 piece in the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog.

My stay on Ischia was only supposed to be four days. As I was sipping prosecco from a lemon tree–scented terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, I couldn’t help myself: I rejigged my itinerary to extend my stay. 

I was told about the Italian isle an hour from Naples {via hydrofoil} through a friend who was in Italy for work. With a few precious days off, she enlisted the help of local contacts to suggest nearby seaside escape. Enter Ischia, a classic Italian getaway established first for its trade position, followed by its wine and wellness.

A Rarity
Part of what makes this coastal escape a rarity—and a must-go travel gem—is its ultra-local appeal coupled with its off-the-tourist-track charisma. Unlike Capri and Amalfi {the island’s popular neighbors}, there are not visitors arriving in droves, souvenir shops toting florescent hats, nor menus translated into six languages. During my weeklong stay, I only spotted two North Americans; the rest were Italians, plus a few Brits to boot, a stark reminder that it’s still a virtually undiscovered escape in a country where almost every coastline and countryside has been touched by tourist sandals.

The volcanic island’s lush landscape, fringed by 21 miles of sand and rock, is an ode to the good life, or as the Italians say, “la dolce vita.” Teeming with mineral-rich water and mud which banishes impurities from the bod, fertile fields where lemons and tomatoes bake to the ideal temperature, terraced landscapes that produce knockout wine, white-sand beaches, and beach clubs cut into the rock, Ischia has everything Italophiles love about southern Europe sans the resort-wear cachet of nearby Capri.

Prosecco Days
When I visited in summer 2015 with Mr. and Baby Styler, we started every day with breakfast at Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa—one of our best stays in 2015—where we found it hard to control our cravings around the fresh-squeezed orange juice, vine-ripened tomatoes, chunks of buffalo mozzarella, and prosecco {Prosecco 1, Trip Styler 0}. If not for my post-breakfast dip in the spa’s mineral pool, I would have come home double my size.

When 11:00 a.m. rolled around, we raced for the sea—the best place to keep cool during the summer heat—because Ischia’s version of waterfront relaxation came with all the fixings: an alfresco restaurant, bright umbrella-topped lounge chairs, and a seafront location so fetching it belongs on Pinterest, not in real life.

Because we’d spend every afternoon eating, drinking, swimming in the sea {and trying our best to mimic the bronzed miracle glow most Italians seem to sport year-round} we kept our evenings simple.

Simple Nights
At night, we’d head to the marina in Porto, a beautiful, cobblestone-fronted stretch of restaurants overlooking ferries and yachts bobbing in the day’s last light. Here, we’d “break the bank” ordering a half-liter of house wine and bruschetta for about four euros each. For the price, you’d expect these provisions to be subpar; instead they were another outflowing of Italy’s ode to all things fine and good. The wine was not some eye-squinting table version; it was perfect. The food followed the same storyline: It wasn’t some thrown-together version of store-bought stuff, but rather a combo of house-made bread, Italian cheese, about-to-burst tomatoes, and basil so fresh you could smell it 20 steps away. 

There are some destinations that pair so perfectly with your person, it’s as if you were meant to be there at that moment in time. For me, that’s Ischia. From the bruschetta to the boat-access beach clubs that look as though they’re a summer hideaway for James Bond, Ischia has graduated from what I thought would be a one-time summer fling to a destination I'm determined to visit again.

Get There
Unless you charter a yacht or heli, the best way to get to Ischia is by hydrofoil or ferry service from Naples, the Amalfi Coast or Capri.

[Photos by @tripstyler]

Photos :: Best of 2015

best of 2105 trip styler

[trip style = all]

"Hah-llo from the other side" {2016 being other side} - Adele

Every new year I take an inventory of the prior year's travel triumphs. What inspired me. The places that gave me butterflies. Hotels I'd visit again {and again}.

Thinking back to 2015, I traveled a lot with the fam-jamsans sacrificing stylevisiting nearby locales and far-flung islands. Because I'm quite choosy with my travel, I'd do many of these trips again. Here are the best.     

January 2015 // Tofino + Ucluelet
When I made the 5-hour ferry + car trip from Vancouver to Tofino {a.k.a. Canada's wildest version of its West Coast}, I was reminded what a 24/7 immersion in nature does for the soul. Hint: It soothes it. Couple this with a year-round surf scene and some of the world's most consistent waves plus a sandy bottom, and Tofino is a town one must taste at least once in their lifetime {or more often}!

Hanging at Ucluth beach with the entire Trip Styler clan {including Dog Styler} in Ucluelet, BC.&nbsp;

Hanging at Ucluth beach with the entire Trip Styler clan {including Dog Styler} in Ucluelet, BC. 

About to enjoy some locally roasted morning coffee in Ucluelet at  Wya Point Resort .

About to enjoy some locally roasted morning coffee in Ucluelet at Wya Point Resort.

Watching surfers about to brave the waves at Cox Bay in Tofino, BC.&nbsp;

Watching surfers about to brave the waves at Cox Bay in Tofino, BC. 

Learning to surf with Roxy-sponsored surfer Catherine Bruhwiler of Tofino Paddle Surf.&nbsp;Read more about it in my article,  Surfing the Canadian Coast , in the Expedia Viewfinder.

Learning to surf with Roxy-sponsored surfer Catherine Bruhwiler of Tofino Paddle Surf. Read more about it in my article, Surfing the Canadian Coast, in the Expedia Viewfinder.

Dog Styler, hanging with his surf buddies.&nbsp;

Dog Styler, hanging with his surf buddies. 

The perfect perch to take in the sand and surf view: The master bedroom in a Beach House at  Pacific Sands Beach Resort .&nbsp;

The perfect perch to take in the sand and surf view: The master bedroom in a Beach House at Pacific Sands Beach Resort

March 2015 // Santa Barbara
I'm not sure how it took me so long to visit Santa Barbara, the coastal town 90 minutes from LA. Now, all I know is I'd like to winter there. 

Sunsets like this almost every night. Swoon.

Sunsets like this almost every night. Swoon.

The lobby of  The Goodland , a So-Cal stay that channels the Pacific Coast's easy-breezy beach vibes in every space. &nbsp;   

The lobby of The Goodland, a So-Cal stay that channels the Pacific Coast's easy-breezy beach vibes in every space.  

 

Halibut with Israeli couscous at Outpost, a farm-to-table eatery in The Goodland.

Halibut with Israeli couscous at Outpost, a farm-to-table eatery in The Goodland.

Chilling with Baby Styler by the pool at The Goodland.

Chilling with Baby Styler by the pool at The Goodland.

La familia in Santa Barbara. Read about Santa Barbara's new wave of trendsetters in my article,  Santa Barbara Beyond the Break , in the Expedia Viewfinder.

La familia in Santa Barbara. Read about Santa Barbara's new wave of trendsetters in my article, Santa Barbara Beyond the Break, in the Expedia Viewfinder.

April 2016 // Maui + Lanai
What started as a week-long work trip to Maui morphed into a three-week tour of the Valley Isle, plus a two-night jaunt over to Lanai. Because, the tropics.  

Maui: Introducing Baby Styler to the joys of the Pacific Isles.&nbsp;

Maui: Introducing Baby Styler to the joys of the Pacific Isles. 

Maui: Enjoying the cabana life, included in your room rate, at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, where we stayed for five nights. Read about the  joys of traveling with a baby  at a hotel that specializes in {cool} family travel and has more baby gadgets than even Will + Kate would need!&nbsp;

Maui: Enjoying the cabana life, included in your room rate, at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, where we stayed for five nights. Read about the joys of traveling with a baby at a hotel that specializes in {cool} family travel and has more baby gadgets than even Will + Kate would need! 

Maui:&nbsp;I never thought doing the Road to Hana was in my wheelhouse due to my very delicate motion sickness. However, I lived to tell the tale with Mr. Trip Styler's oh-so-careful caressing of the steering wheel and brakes. Here's how  I conquered my car sickness  on one of the most breathtaking journeys in the world.&nbsp;

Maui: I never thought doing the Road to Hana was in my wheelhouse due to my very delicate motion sickness. However, I lived to tell the tale with Mr. Trip Styler's oh-so-careful caressing of the steering wheel and brakes. Here's how I conquered my car sickness on one of the most breathtaking journeys in the world. 

Maui: Run, don't walk to the Fairmont Kea Lani,&nbsp;Maui for the oishi sushi (a deep-fried spicy tuna roll) in Ko restaurant,&nbsp;and a  space-age escape to Willow Stream Spa , where I highly recommend the K-Lift, a NASA-developed anti-aging treatment.&nbsp;

Maui: Run, don't walk to the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui for the oishi sushi (a deep-fried spicy tuna roll) in Ko restaurant, and a space-age escape to Willow Stream Spa, where I highly recommend the K-Lift, a NASA-developed anti-aging treatment. 

Lanai: The beach at the Four Seasons Lanai, one of my favorite hotels on PLANET EARTH {which just went through an extensive top-to-bottom reno} and is one of the most picture-perfect properties I've ever visited {photo via resort}.

Lanai: The beach at the Four Seasons Lanai, one of my favorite hotels on PLANET EARTH {which just went through an extensive top-to-bottom reno} and is one of the most picture-perfect properties I've ever visited {photo via resort}.

Lanai: If you think this pool at the Four Seasons Lanai is incredible, just imagine the new free-form version debuting Feb. 1st, 2016.&nbsp;

Lanai: If you think this pool at the Four Seasons Lanai is incredible, just imagine the new free-form version debuting Feb. 1st, 2016. 

Lanai: Sweetheart Rock. One of the most incredible places in the world to see the sunset.

Lanai: Sweetheart Rock. One of the most incredible places in the world to see the sunset.

Lanai: The sunset from Sweetheart Rock.

Lanai: The sunset from Sweetheart Rock.

Lanai: Dining at NOBU Lanai, the only NOBU in the world to source greens from its own onsite garden.

Lanai: Dining at NOBU Lanai, the only NOBU in the world to source greens from its own onsite garden.

Lanai: A glimpse of the new rooms at the Four Seasons Lanai {photo via resort}.

Lanai: A glimpse of the new rooms at the Four Seasons Lanai {photo via resort}.

July 2016 // Italy
Discovering a land where the wine flows like water. Life is enchanting when you drink it in from a beach club carved into a cliff beside the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Rome: But first, coffee. Learn how to make Italian espresso in  this video .

Rome: But first, coffee. Learn how to make Italian espresso in this video.

Rome: Seeing the Colosseum, built from 72AD-80AD.

Rome: Seeing the Colosseum, built from 72AD-80AD.

Rome: While this photo is not best-in-class, the experience is: A  Walks of Italy  pasta-making class in a chef's studio towering over the Eternal City. Bottomless Prosecco included!  See the video here .&nbsp;

Rome: While this photo is not best-in-class, the experience is: A Walks of Italy pasta-making class in a chef's studio towering over the Eternal City. Bottomless Prosecco included! See the video here

Rome: The wonder of St. Peter's Basilica

Rome: The wonder of St. Peter's Basilica

Amalfi: Picturesque gelato...

Amalfi: Picturesque gelato...

Capri: and cappuccino...

Capri: and cappuccino...

Capri: and snacks, a.k.a.  aperitivos...

Capri: and snacks, a.k.a. aperitivos...

and bars...&nbsp;

and bars... 

Serving this...

Serving this...

Capri : and beach clubs...

Capri: and beach clubs...

Ischia: and beaches...

Ischia: and beaches...

Ischia: and beach boys,&nbsp;aka Mr. and Baby Styler...

Ischia: and beach boys, aka Mr. and Baby Styler...

Ischia: and spring-fed pools { Terme Manzi }...

Ischia: and spring-fed pools {Terme Manzi}...

Amalfi: and my FAVE Trip Styler family pic complete with Baby Styler's tongue sticking out!

Amalfi: and my FAVE Trip Styler family pic complete with Baby Styler's tongue sticking out!

September 2016 // Sonora Resort
Only an hour by float plane from Vancouver, Sonora Resort is a Relais & Chateaux slice of Canadian paradise where wilderness commingles with award-winning cuisine and curated comforts {more on this coming soon}.

Canada: Where even the float planes are called beavers.

Canada: Where even the float planes are called beavers.

Spending some solo time in the spa's alfresco hydrotherapy circuit, included in every stay.&nbsp;

Spending some solo time in the spa's alfresco hydrotherapy circuit, included in every stay. 

Meet my new BFF {who I loved from afar}: A baby grizzly bear!

Meet my new BFF {who I loved from afar}: A baby grizzly bear!

A coho salmon I caught {and got to bring home}!

A coho salmon I caught {and got to bring home}!

Weighing my salmon on the scale in front of the resort.&nbsp;

Weighing my salmon on the scale in front of the resort. 

September 2016 // Disney Cruise
Think Disney, then think luxury edition. Of all my forays into Mickey-themed getaways, the voyage at sea is the most elegant. Think: A ton of fun activities for families plus a nursery for tots {or kids' clubs for 5-and-up} and adult-only areas {spa, bars, restaurants}.

Baby Styler having a blast in the bath-warm water at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. See the whole experience in video here .&nbsp;

Baby Styler having a blast in the bath-warm water at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.See the whole experience in video here

The adult-only spa. Parents: If you have tykes old enough to do the kids programs, get a spa pass for the whole cruise!

The adult-only spa. Parents: If you have tykes old enough to do the kids programs, get a spa pass for the whole cruise!

Drinks on Deck 13 while Baby Styler sleeps in the nursery.

Drinks on Deck 13 while Baby Styler sleeps in the nursery.

October 2015 // Hawaii
On Hawaii Island, cascading waterfalls, rainbow-hued botanical gardens, roadside coconut stands and lava landscapes come standard with every stay. And you don’t need to travel far to find them—at any time, every one of these otherworldly sights is less than an hour away. Add in a fish- and farm-to-fork scene made possible by the sea-to-summit topography, and it’s plain to see why life in the Pacific is so palatable.

For the snorkeling in crystal clear water

For the snorkeling in crystal clear water

For the pools {Fairmont Orchid}

For the pools {Fairmont Orchid}

For the nature encounters à&nbsp;la paddleboard

For the nature encounters à la paddleboard

For the Baby Styler kisses

For the Baby Styler kisses

For the sunsets

For the sunsets

For the beach-perfect selfies { find out how to take a great family selfie here }!

For the beach-perfect selfies {find out how to take a great family selfie here}!

November 2015 // Mexico
We visited the Riviera Maya {I can reveal why soon} and fell in love with Grand Velas, our posh all-inclusive stay. From there, we crossed the country to the Pacific side to spend time with family in Punta Mita. 

The zen pool, aptly situated in the Mayan jungle, at Grand Velas Riviera Maya { read about Grand Velas here }.

The zen pool, aptly situated in the Mayan jungle, at Grand Velas Riviera Maya {read about Grand Velas here}.

The chic {and included} room service at Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

The chic {and included} room service at Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

Walking on water...kinda...at Grand Velas.

Walking on water...kinda...at Grand Velas.

Baby Styler learning how to walk and play soccer {at the same time} on the beach in Punta Mita.

Baby Styler learning how to walk and play soccer {at the same time} on the beach in Punta Mita.

Sunset in Punta Mita.

Sunset in Punta Mita.

[All photos by @TripStyler unless otherwise specified]

A day in Vancouver

A Saturday in vancouver

[trip style = luxury + urban + spa + food & wine + active]

Eat, exercise, repeat. This is Vancouver. Steeped in nature with a cosmo flair befitting its Pacific Rim location, Vancouver is a city where Louboutins and hiking boots are equally welcome. For a well-rounded view of the Glass City I've included activities for both shoe types to your mountain-meets-metropolitan itinerary. Happy trails...

When I was asked to write about how to do a Saturday in my home city for Luxury Retreats Magazine, I went in this direction: The local's way, because that's the best way to taste a town's flavors, mais oui?

A Saturday in Vancouver {reader's digest version}
9am: Take your first bite du jour at Temper Pastry {just outside the city center} for a dose of coffee and croissants to fuel your urban adventure. Thankfully the rest of the day involves exercise, so order a few Charlie Bites—the shop's cult-following, lightly sweetened, cinnamon pull-aparts—and sit for a bit in the marble-clad and brioche-scented space. 

10:30am: Bike the Stanley Park Seawall. As part of the world's longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the seawall showcases the ocean city’s assets up close, taking cyclists and pedestrians on a tour around town past the park's 1,000 acres, beaches, seaside restaurants, marinas, and gourmet markets.

2pm: Laze the afternoon away at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Willow Stream Spa. At once contemporary and cool, the 8,500-square foot, glass-enclosed space goes beyond Canada-inspired treatments of the Maple-sugar scrub variety, offering a woodsy West Coast aesthetic, the crown jewel of which is the outdoor terrace with views over the waterfront, private Jacuzzis, an infrared sauna, and meditation pods.

7pm: Dinner at L’Abattoir (where you'll find me sitting at the bar in the photo gallery), Gastown's poshest address for dinner, blending an industrial-French physique with sexy cocktails and Euro-coastal dishes that look as though they are intended for a photoshoot.

[photo via @luxuryretreats]