The very thought of the Hamptons brings up images of sipping rosé, pristine homes (or compounds!), and tidy seaside towns where the Manhattanites summer. My husband and I were invited by friends to visit their lovely home there last month, and visions of white parties started to dance in my mind. And the villages were charming! We learned the reputations of each of the Hamptons (quaint Sag Harbor! laid back Shelter Island!), and we got to experience the Monday evening drums on Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponak. June’s travel POTM™ is a photo I took while leaving the beach, walking to the beat of the drums.
I’ve already blogged about What Not To Do in Costa Rica, but I didn’t touch on the best part of the trip: a visit to the quaint shores of Playa Conchal. My friend Brandi and I visited in 2007, and the afternoon we spent snapping pictures seaside brings us June’s POTM. I love the juxtaposition of the flippers with the overturned cart on the white shell beach.
This weekend, my fiancé and I spent three days in Santa Monica, California. In town for a wedding, we happily ate our way through some of the best restaurants there. Headed to this lovely beach community soon? Below are some of the best places we went over the long weekend:
- Ivy at the Shore. The Ivy is a Beverly Hills institution, and we hit this more casual location for lunch. Think colorful decoration, the famous Cobb salad (I enjoyed mine with lobster), attentive waiters, and refreshing berry champagne drinks. The outside seating area filled up quickly, and we loved having a leisurely lunch before strolling down to the touristy Santa Monica Pier.
- The Penthouse at the Huntley. We joined some friends in a snazzy private booth here for dinner, and what a meal it was! We started with a delish charcuterie plate and marveled over the pâté. For my main course, I selected the truffle lobster macaroni and cheese–to die for!–and shared some of the chocolate panna cotta with my friends for desert. The views were incredible, and the service was excellent.
- One Pico at Shutters on the Beach. This hotel is gorgeous and worth a visit itself, but I will happily recommend their Saturday brunch. We enjoyed tasty bubbles and their heavenly array of breads in this open and airy space directly next to the beach. Since I was still in a food coma from the previous day, I had a light mealof fresh corn soup with a zesty Caesar salad.
- Sonoma Wine Garden. This fetching wine bistro sits atop of Santa Monica Place, and their Sunday brunch boasted six unlimited day drinking options (think elderflower mimosas) and noshable treats. Make sure you stake claim on your umbrella quickly, as these were in high demand on a sunny afternoon!
- Casa Del Mar. This hotel, also directly on the beach, is another Santa Monica staple, yet we were finished stuffing our faces and only enjoyed a glass of wine overlooking the ocean. The atmosphere was quaint, and this was absolutely the most delightful way to cap off a lovely weekend.
The wedding we attended was at the nearby Viceroy–and it was pretty swanky. I would have loved to luxuriate by its cabana-covered pool, and they did a wonderful job with the wedding. We stayed at the Le Meridien Delfina, and while the hotel was not my favorite SPG property, the staff was pleasant, and the spicy truffle popcorn was addicting. It’s a good thing that we danced the night away at the wedding reception and walked all over town, or we would have gained a lot of weight eating our way through gorgeous Santa Monica!
Our trip to Thailand begain with more than 24 hours of travel on Hainan Airlines (which we referred to as “Mystery Airline” prior to departure, but it was oh-so-fabulous). My friend Brandi and I arrived at the then brand new Renaissance Resort in on Mai Khao for a refreshing welcome drink with our third traveling companion, Linda. Let me tell you something about Linda: she was kind enough to use her Marriott points to treat us all to three days in paradise in Phuket, and she definitely completed the triumvirate of awesomeness.
We had so much fun lounging on the Mai Khao Beach, giggling though little inside trip jokes, trying new foods, and getting lovely Thai massages by the ocean (an hour of massage bliss for $10? Priceless!) We could have spent our entire time in Phuket at our hotel, yet we did spend one day journeying outside of our resort–shopping for handcrafted souvenirs, buying local artwork–I purchased two matching Thai angel paintings–and experiencing the amazing cuisine.
A highlight of our time on Phuket was our trek into the jungle…on an elephant! The giant beasts were very sturdy, as they hiked through foliage—rubber trees!—to show us a stunning view of the sea. After we disembarked, we got to feed our new friends bananas, and nothing is as surreal as having two elephant trunks in your personal space…I loved it!
After our elephant experience, we decided to head over to Phuket Town, where we walked through quaint shops and visited with the shopkeepers. We left after three wonderful days for Bangkok (more Thailand adventures here), yet I would highly recommend Phuket as a stop in any luxurious Thailand itinerary.