I first met Ksenia in Israel. We both were at a mutual friend's birthday party on the beach, and she stood out - a tall, beautiful girl from Moscow. We never met again, but our paths crossed professionally; after writing and editing for a Russian travel magazine, Ksenia, like many creatives, decided to embark on a tech adventure. She joined the team behind a new Russian-based travel app named Friendly Cities, where I later became the Bay Area editor. Then, by the force of Facebook, I found out she moved across the world, to South Africa of all places, and soon founded Gummie, a curated travel experienced website. Wait, what?
Summer, I think, is for European travel. Last year I visited Moscow, and this summer, flying out of Israel, I had a chance to spend three days in London with my mom - a girly getaway, much needed reconnecting time and best of all - no 'must see' or 'must to' bucket list items. Both of us had been to London before and took our sweet time doing absolutely nothing. Stylish, delicious, fun nothing. If you ask me, you truly start feeling at home in a city when you find a favorite neighborhood. East London is my favorite - Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Soho, were all walking distance this visit, and solidified this cozy feeling.
When I was little, a movies captured my imagination. It was The Road to Wellville (the irony of its name escaped me back than), an extremely funny and grotesque depiction of an old-timey, wonderful and slightly eccentric wellness resort, where people wore matching swimsuits and underwent rejuvenation 'procedures' in the hopes to get their mojo back (again, a notion I was unaware of at the age of 11). I couldn't ever imagine that, 20 years later, I'd spend a night at a place that will bring me back to Wellwille - in the best way possible.
When I was invited to check out the historic and wonderfully preserved Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga a month ago, I didn't know much about it, besides driving by its beautiful premises a couple of times. Upon arrival, though, it became clear - this is one of those resorts. It wraps you in a stylish time capsule, gives you a white cruiser bike, surrounds you with whiteness and tile and bathrobe softness, until you forget where you are and suddenly remember, ever so clearly, who you are, away from the everyday noise and worry. Let me demonstrate:
Back in December, amidst a very rainy holiday season, I was craving a romantic tropical vacation. Tanning and exploring instead of bundling up and enduring Christmastime music on the radio sounded pretty sweet, so I swapped my usual Israel-bound Hanukkah visit for our first ever South American trip.
In the big-picture budgeting of life, there’s rarely room for fancy hotels. I can count my top hotel experiences on 10 fingers; among them are the Grand Hotel in Stockholm and Brown's in Lisbon. But, no matter how you look at it, staying in a hotel is always a unique experience. A friend of mine, who’s making his first steps in hotel life, says a good hotel ‘takes care of you’, and I might add - a really good hotel creates a micro-cosmos of luxury around you.