Past Travel Adventures – Dreaming of the Road Less Traveled

For the next few weeks I am going to post images of some of the destinations I have been privileged to experience. We are all dreaming of getting back on the road.

Sumatran Rice Barn- Bali

Elephant – Zambia Africa

Thailand

Thailand

US Lifts International Flight Restrictions

Glorious sunset

US has lifted international flight restrictions. We have the latest information on where US Citizens can travel and the entry requirements needed.

Travel Wishes

Travel highlights - hoping to get back to Africa

Back to Africa soon- we hope!

Looking to getting back on the road!

At the Beverly Hills Hotel, Everyone is a Movie Star

Iconic Wallpaper at BHH

Iconic Wallpaper at BHH


Home: Beverly Hills Hotel

Home: Beverly Hills Hotel


Hard not to love the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Pink Palace never fails to please. Part of Dorchester Collection, the iconic hotel is better than ever. Undergoing selective renovation- of which I never saw or heard evidence, the hotel has kept the 1912 original decor but added all the 2019 conveniences. Staff is happy and welcome is warm. Beautifully led by GM Edward Mady, the hotel spins like a top. Can’t wait to return!
BHH Lobby

BHH Lobby

Impossible to Choose the Top Hotel in Marrakech!

Selman Marrakech

Selman Marrakech


Hotel Selman, located about 20 minutes outside of city center is palace on 15 acres also home to an impressive collection of Arabian thoroughbreds. A place where the horses are as glossy as the 75 metre swimming pool. The stunning interiors were designed by iconic designer Jacques Garcia. The hotel’s aesthetic is best described as French Second Empire luxury meets Arabian tradition: lustrous chandeliers, purple and gold upholstery meld with ebony-stained tadelakt plasterwork and miniature monochrome zellige tiling.
My personal hotel favorites are Royal Mansour, La Mamounia, Mandarin Oriental, Selman, and Villa des Orangers.
Courtyard La Mamounia

Courtyard La Mamounia


Welcome! Classic La Mamounia

Welcome! Classic La Mamounia


Royal Mansour

Royal Mansour


Charming courtyard Villa Des Orangers a Relais & Chateaux


Massive elegant pool villa- Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

Top Hotels Fes Morocco

Riad Fes- Relais & Chateaux

Riad Fes- Relais & Chateaux


Hotel Sahrai

Hotel Sahrai

View from my room- Hotel Sahrai

View from my room- Hotel Sahrai

Rocking Rooftop Bar - Hotel Sahrai

Rocking Rooftop Bar – Hotel Sahrai


Fes, the cultural heart of Morocco, has a special selection of small hotels.
Riad Fes is the largest luxury boutique hotel in Fez and is a member of Relais & Chateaux. The hotel comprises 3 old palaces that date back to the 18th century. It’s been opened as a hotel since 2001. It has 26 Rooms and it’s restaurant is considered one of the best in Fes.
A relatively new addition is Hotel Sahrai. Decor is more contemporary, the hotel has two restaurants- one French and one Moroccan. The hotel also boosts a rooftop bar with spectacular sunset views.

Morocco- Haunting Images

Color, people, shopping, landscapes- Morocco has it all

Color, people, shopping, landscapes- Morocco has it all

Moon over Marrakech

Moon over Marrakech

Morocco – A Kaleidoscope of Color

Potter in Skoura

Potter in Skoura

Marrakech

Marrakech

Majorelle Garden Marrakech

Morocco – Exotic, Glamorous and Friendly!

Kasbah in the Almond Valley

Kasbah in the Almond Valley

Doorway Royal Mansour Marrakech

Doorway Royal Mansour Marrakech


One of the most exotic and secure places to visit in the world is Morocco. The welcome and warmth of people in general is warm and from the heart. Hotels here are a dream.
Craftsmanship in leather goods, jewelry, fashion, textiles, furnishings, decorative accessories, lighting, and just about anything you can imagine buying, is excellent. A food lovers dream, the country is a choice place to sample French, and Moroccan influences.

Maria Cristina Hotel, San Sebastián Spain -Top choice!

Hotel Maria Cristina San Sebastián

Hotel Maria Cristina San Sebastián

Maria Christina Hotel, San Sebastián


Classical Grande Dame in San Sebastián.
Opened in 1912, the restored Hotel Maria Cristina has been closely linked to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian. We experienced gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel.
Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury, style, technology and a dazzling range of services which combined, make for an unforgettable stay.

San Sebastián Spain – Hidden Michelin Starred Gem

Opera House San Sebastián Spain
Situated in Northeastern Spain, on the Atlantic, 30 minutes below Biarrit France, San Sebastián is in Basque Country. Residents point out that gastronomy is an art form and it flourishes in San Sebastián. Of the eleven 3-Michelin star (the highest there is) restaurants in Spain, three are in San Sebastián. The city holds a total of 18 Michelin stars by the city’s culinary chefs. San Sebastián is one of the cities in the world to hold the highest number of Michelin stars per square metre (only beaten by Kyoto in Japan, and well ahead of cities like Paris and Lyon).

Pinchos Menu- Basque Tapas

Basque cuisine is wide-ranging and varied; it is based on ingredients sourced from the Cantabrian sea (fish and seafood) and from the local gardens and farms (vegetables, cereals, meat, etc.). But if any one feature stands out in their gastronomy, it has to be the use of seasonal, top quality produce.

Typical market presentation in San Sebastián,s Market

Lobby La Posta Vecchia

Any visit to elegant La Posta Vecchia is a special treat. Once the residence of Jean Paul Getty whose collection of antique furniture, tapestries and century old objects remain part of what is now a 19 room luxury hotel complete with every comfort and amenity. This 17th century jewel is one of the most prestigious hotels in Italy. Delightful GM, Marco Filippi runs a tight ship. Service is flawless. Perfect for small weddings, honeymoons or simply a magical romantic place to experience. A palatial seaside villa located within an easy 30-minute drive of Fiumicino airport.

Senior Suite La Posta Vecchia

Brownell Travel Group at La Posta Vecchia

Eden Hotel Rome – Spectacular after a 17 Month Renovation

With awe inspiring panorama views, Legendary Hotel Eden is like a shiny new penny after a 17 month renovation. Rooms are bright and elegant. The hotel retained those gorgeous white marble spacious bathrooms. Makes anyone feel like a movie star!
A Dorchester Collection hotel, the staff Is masterfully run by GM Luca Virgilio.
Staff Is enthusiastic and sincerely welcoming. Rooms are bright and large location at the top of the hill near Via Veneto, makes for easy walking. And those BEDS! Unforgettable!!

HotelEden View from Bar

Lobby Corner Hotel Eden

Still has the michelin starred restaurant, La Terrazzo and Eden bar with incredible views overlooking the entire Historic center of Rome

Il Giardino Ristorante Eden Hotel

Hotel Hassler- Updated Glamour

Typical Coffee Service -Hotel Hassler


Dispatch from Rome: lovely experience with the Hassler Hotel. Established in 1939 by Oscar Wirth, guests feel the family atmosphere and service immediately when entering the lobby. There is a sense of pride and sincere welcome from the doorman to the desk. I had the privilege of meeting the present President and Managing Director, Roberto Wirth and his son, Roberto who is the heir apparent. Many staff have been there for as long as 30 years. Service is impeccable refreshed decor is bright, contemporary and luxurious. The location, at the top of the Spanish Steps is perfect. The Hassler added a small group of rooms hidden beside the Spanish Steps – Il Palazzetto – in 1999. Roberto acquired Il Palazzetto with the intention of expanding the brand name of the historical hotel located two steps away at Piazza Trinita dei Monti. He wanted to unite his hospitality skills with his love for good wine, and established Il Palazzetto.
Il Palazzetto includes the Wine Bar on its two panoramic terraces overlooking the Spanish Steps, four boutique hotel rooms and a special location for memorable private events.

Public Room Il Palazzetto – Hassler

View from my bath Hassler Hotel

The Beaumont Hotel- Art Deco Gem in the Heart of Mayfair

Cub Lounge- Beaumont Hotel For guests only


Inspired by the great hotels of the 1920’s, the Five Star Beaumont is much admired for it’s unique character and high level of personal service.
Occupying a 1926 Art Deco building in the heart of Mayfair, the Beaumont is steps away from high level shopping, and London’s finest galleries and museums. The intimate size of the hotel – only 73 rooms and suites – means every guest benefits from a very personal touch.

Noteworthy London – Master of Off the Beaten Path

Fast track Eurostar


Private visit to the HM Belfast- and shooting the cannon that fired the first shot from the water on DDay, Hidden subways- where many of our favorite movies were filmed, private visit to the Churchill War Rooms, walking the rooftops of Hampton Court, private visit to Windsor Castle’s Chapel(with a view of the never open to the public Albert Chapel), preopening visit to
Highclere Castle, private meeting with the head of the Royal Guards at Windsor, the list is far too long to name all of the choices Noteworthy offers in Grest Britain.

Hidden Subways London[/caption]

Noteworthy London adds Paris to its tour offerings.

The ultimate tour designer, Noteworthy, has added Paris to it’s repertoire.
Always known for top guides and imaginative touring, we were blown away by the insider knowledge of our guides and special entrances in Paris. Fast track Louvre and behind doors at the Sacre Cour were just a drop in the bucket to what Noteworthy can offer clients in Paris and London. It is all about their personal connections and the access is brilliant. Most importantly their activities are FUN! We never stopped laughing.

Visiting Laulhere in Paris.


Laulhere is the last great Beret shop in the city, totally dedicated to making the hat most identified with France. We were treated to a beret making demonstration and got to choose a beret for ourselves. Typical clever noteworthy experience.

Rose Window Saint Chapelle. From the top of the altar


Zipped into the Louvre- no wait


Our incredible leaders from Noteworthy: owner Nicola Butler and Camilla Noteworthy Davidson

Lanesborough London- All the Bells and Whistles


Lanesborough London- Glamorous Grande Dame
If you want to feel like a movie star, stay at the Lanesborough.
All rooms and suite guests have their own personal Butler, and the ultimate service.
I found the hotel elegant-decor beautifully and lovingly restored, with a warm residential feel.
For all that glamour, the hotel did not feel stuffy
Staff, from the GM on down were sincerely welcoming. That seems to be a theme with Oetker Collection hotels. They genuinely care about your well being
The most pleasant surprise is the humor of the British. We had a really delightful demonstration on the selection of teas at the Lanesborough, and importance of their butlers.

Engaging demonstration of the butler’s function at the Lanesborough.


Royal Suite sitting area

Room 322

Le Bristol Paris- Where The Magic Happens

Spectacular Reception hall arrangement by dolche e
gabana. Bristol Paris

Legendary iconic hotel, in the heart of the fashion, design, and art district. Hôtel Le Bristol opened in 1925. Owned by the Oetker family, who also own among others,Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Chateau Saint-Martin,and Brenners Park, the hotel clearly reflects a family vibe. Managed by Leah Marshall the hotel brings a freshness and energy not often seen in a royal, palace hotel. Staff are all happy and the welcome is from the ear. No wonder the client return rate is around 63%. They sincerely make you feel at home. No stuffiness here. Rooms are large, bright and comfortable.

Paris- a pleasure in the winter!!

Top of my sightseeing list- Saint Chapelle.


No lines at museums, no crowds on the streets, easy dinner reservations! What a delightful time to visit Paris! Sales are running in all the shops! Prepare to dress warmly, inside it is cosy and warm. Our visit was impeccably planned by London based Noteworthy and Oetker Collection.
I have to pinch myself,we are privileged to be staying at the fabulous Bristol Paris, Oetker Collection. Magnifique!!

No lines at the Louvre, or popular sights. Throne of Napolean III

Beautifully Designed -Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach

World renowned architect, Bill Bensley, designed the Dorado Beach property for Ritz Carlton and this is definitely one of his best. No detail was left untouched. It is a thoughtful, powerful product with a perfect sense of destination. The spa a particularly special scene and a must destination for any Ritz Carlton guest.

Bill Bensley designed Spa at Ritz Dorado Beach

Spa entry using local dried flowers and herbs

Entry to Hotel using water lilies

San Juan is Up and Running on All Cylinders – now open Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach

Every room is Beachfront


Surprising,stunning, superb Ritz Carlton is one of the most beautiful beach resorts in the world. Handling children as well as honeymooners with equal aplomb the hotel is simply spectacular.

Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach


Hello Gorgeous! Four Seasons Orlando!

Adult pool – Four Seasons Orlando


The five year old Four Seasons Orlando is stunning. Quite the destination for families, it is a stones throw from Disney World. They offer complimentary fast track passes. More coming…

Polar Bear Adventure -Polar Rovers and Dog Sledding

Polar Rover – viewing polar bears safely


I am amazed at the scope and superior caliber of Natural Habitat Adventures. Among other things, they supplied our parkas, boots, charter to Churchill, and our viewing vehicles: polar rovers. The rovers were comfortable, roomy, and afforded us amazing up close and personal views of polar bears, foxes, birds. We were blessed with the ultimate guide, Justin Gordon, who regaled us with the area history and in depth lectures on the local wildlife. This has been one of the best educationals I have ever had the privilege of attending.
If you have a chance to travel with Nat Hab, jump on it!

puppy sled dog – just there to watch the excitement


Dog Sledding


Taking off!

Polar Bear Adventure – first stop Winnipeg

Reception Hall Fort Garry Hotel

Winnipeg was founded in the late 1700’s as a fur trading outpost. The city’s name came from nearby lake Winnipeg, a Cree word meaning muddy water. The Hudson Bay company settled there in the early 1800’s and established several forts-the last one being Fort Garry. Winnipeg was a railway hub and considered a major trading center,until the Panama Canal redirected trade. The train station was designed by the architect of New York’s Grand Central Station. We fly North by charter to Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill is on the Hudson Bsy. The major tribes in the Churchill area of were the Cree, Sayisi Dene, the Inuit and Metis.
Natural Habitat Adventures has set up headquarters at the hotel and there is where we pick up our heavy boots and Parkas

Superduper parka and boots supplied by Nat Hab in Winnipeg

Polar Bear Capital in October- Churchill Manitoba

Such a thrill to see polar bears in ther natural habitat!

In October, polar bears converge in Churchill Manitoba, after spending the summer foraging in the countryside.
The rivers start freezing and the ice flows into the Hudson Bay. Polar Bears’ major food source are seals, and as the ice on the bay freezes over, the bears can get out to the seals. Churchill was founded in the 1600’s as a trading post for the fur trade by the Hudson Bay company. Located on the southwestern side of Hudson Bay, Churchill turns into the Polar Bear Capital starting around October.
Thanks to Natural Habitat Adventures, our Brownell group of advisors had the privilege of experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.

Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Top Choice for Summer Break

Patrick Droney performing at Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee


Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee is offering a offering a series of concerts and fireworks on selected Sunday nights this summer.
Next concerts are Sunday, July 29: Jon McLaughlin
Sunday, August 5: Nathan Angelo
Sunday, September 2: Ansley Stewart (Labor Day Weekend)
Ansley Stewart and friends will be closing summer in style by playing hits from the 70’s through today. As one of Atlanta’s top cover bands, Stewart and friends will have you rocking the night away.

Linger longer train circles the Ritz Carlton Lake Resort.

The Ritz Carlton on Lake Oconee is an easy to reach in the southern US. A great choice getaway for kids, Ritz is emerging as a top family destination.
Offering an extensive kids program with Junior Explorer, Spy Camp, and Field day, along with multiple lake and pool activities, the resort aims to please. The new and improved Ritz Kids Program is based on the Four Pillars of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society:
Water: Emphasizes the importance of sea life and health
Land: Encourages exploration and discovery
Environmental Responsibility: Promotes our role in the health of our planet for the future
Culture: Exposes young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs, history and cuisine[new and improved Ritz Kids Program based on the Four Pillars of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society:
Water: Emphasizes the importance of sea life and health
Land: Encourages exploration and discovery
Environmental Responsibility: Promotes our role in the health of our planet for the future
Culture: Exposes young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs, history and cuisine

A few of the different activities they offer at their vacation resort include: nature hikes or scavenger hunts, fishing, making pine cone bird feeders, shooting hoops on their court, exploring their tree house playground or performing plays in their Pollywog Theatre.

Definitely worth a visit!

Top Hotels Budapest

Four Seasons Gresham Palace – Budapest


Originally built as the Gresham Life Assurance Company in 1906, the Art Noveau beauty was acclaimed by the world even then. It was built with the skill provided by the most acclaimed craftsmen of the time.
Nearly destroyed by World War II, it was restored over a 5 year period matching every single piece of existing historical part of decor to bring it back to its original glory, even returning to the original manufacturers when possible. Bought by Four Season Hotels in 1997, and with the support of the Hungarian government, the doors reopened on June 18, 2004. Host to celebrities and royalty, the Four Seasons Budapest is the top choice for Budapest.
An interesting tidbit: the chandelier is not by Chihuly, it is by Presciosa Lighting from the Czech Republic. Chihuly uses glass, the chandelier is crystal.

Four Seasons Gresham Palace is at the end of the Chain Bridge on the Danube

Art Noveau Facade Four Seasons Gresham Palace


Four Seasons Gresham Palace


Ritz Carlton Vienna – superb location and love the club lounge.
With restaurants, shops, parks and important sights all around it, the Ritz Carlton is in a prime location. We found drinks to average 17E a pop, which made the Ritz Club lounge pretty appealing. Loved the rooms and again, service was warm and spot on.

Ritz Carlton Vienna Club Lounge

Ritz Carlton Vienna

View from our room RitzCarlton Vienna

Budapest- A Beautiful Surprise

View from our room at Ritz Carlton Budapest


The Austro-Hungarian monarchy of the Danube came into being in the year 1872 when the three separate settlements of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (literally “Old” Buda) were united into one city. Occupied by the Soviets until 1989, Hungary saw the end of communism and political freedom through the collapse of the soviet system. Heavily bombed in World War 11, the city has recovered and restored it’s major attractions with careful sense of it’s bountiful history.
Another food, music, and artistic haven, Budapest is a must visit destination.

Budapest’s Parliament – one of the most beautiful and largest in the world
Stunning interior of Parliament

Iconic St Stephens Basilica
Night lighting of the city is unforgettable

Vienna – Nirvana for Food Lovers

Small cafes and a confectioner that was patronized by the Emperor

Restaurant Steirerek Vienna


Nautilus Restaurant -Naschmarkt Vienna

Vienna is packed with options for Michelin dining, small cafes, shops that offer desserts, pstries,confectioneries, coffee selections that have a minimum of 4 different ways. The choices are everywhere

Restaurants we love:
Steirereck im Stadtpark is the top choice for a memorable but pricey dining experience in Vienna.
Ranked number 10 in the world, Chef Heinz Reitbauer, traditional Viennese cuisine with a twist was one of the best dining experiences ever.
Rouge Bar, Sacher Hotel romantic, relaxing, impeccable service. Impeccable all around.
Fabio’s – Vienna’s top rated Italian
Nautilus Naschmarkt -if you are visiting Nashmarkt, this seafood restaurant is a delight.

Hotels We Love Vienna

View from the Presidential Suite Sacher Wien

View from the Presidential Suite Sacher Wien

Rooftop Bar Ritz Vienna


Top choice for Hotels:
Sacher Hotel Wien
Ritz Carlton Vienna
Two completely different hotel experiences from a decorative standpoint. Sacher is traditional, glamorous and as old world as a classic hotel can get. Ritz Carlton is contemporary and with their club lounge and rooftop bar- hard to beat.
Other top contenders are the Bristol with a stellar location across from the Opera, and the Imperial Hotel with their old world glamour.

Imperial Hotel banquet room and Hallway


Park Hyatt meeting room

Staircase Imperial Hotel


The brand new Park Hyatt is a restored bank and they kept the classical features with a contemporary decor.
All hotels are Virtuoso had impeccable service.

Scenes -Vienna, Austria

St Charles Cathedral

Incredible Concert at St. Charles Cathedral Vienna


The passion for music, art,literature, classical architecture and design is so prevalent. Amazing food,and pastry from heaven, Vienna is a feast for the senses.

St Stephens Cathedral

Spanish Riding School

Copy of a photo from the Tack room at the Spanish Riding School – they don’t allow photography during the training performance.

Bouquet from our dinner at the Imperial Hotel

Sacher Hotel Vienna

Lobby, Hotel Sacher

Glamorous to the bone, Hotel Sacher is the number one choice if one wants a sense of classical Vienna. I felt like I was in a jewel box. Breakfast is the most elaborate I have ever seen. Service was unparalleled.

Red Bar, Sacher Hotel


view from the suite

Red Bar, Sacher Hotel

Brenner’s Park Hotel, Baden Baden


Brenner’s Park Hotel Baden Baden. Ultimate 5 Star classical hotel in the Mineral Spring Spa city- Baden Baden. Spectacular amenities. Incredible warm welcome and impeccable service. A place for relaxation and wellness.

Iconic Hot Springs Destination, Baden Baden is in Full Bloom

Iconic Baden Baden in full bloom

An ancient Roman Town, known for it’s healing mineral springs, Baden Baden never fails to entice. I went in college and it is still the same beautiful town. Revisiting Oetker Collection’s Brenner Park Hotel is a complete pleasure. More to come.

Heinz Beck returns to London to launch Beck at Brown’s This April

Heinz Beck returns to London to launch Beck at Brown’s Hotel this April

Heinz Beck Opening at Brown’s London

Michelin starred chef Heinz Beck has announced he will return to London next month with his much anticipated new restaurant Beck at Brown’s, launching on Monday 16th April. Opening in the heart of Mayfair at the iconic Brown’s hotel, the restaurant, freshly redesigned by Olga Polizzi, will offer a brand-new casual dining menu of classic Italian dishes, reinvented using the finest seasonal British ingredients, uniting Heinz’s inimitable style with the hotel’s British heritage and careful balance of classic elegance and contemporary flair.
Beck at Brown’s comes to Mayfair on the heels of Beck’s hugely successful takeover of the space last December as part of the hotel’s celebration of Italian conviviality where he took up residence alongside drinks maestro Salvatore Calabrese. The restaurant will have, at its epicentre, Heinz’s Italian pedigree, refined over his years running kitchens in Rome, in the lauded La Pergola and Attimi- his recently opened more casual outpost. With a focus on a light, healthy menu featuring the highest quality produce – with Norfolk chicken and lamb from the organic Rhug estate. Each dish is crafted by Heinz to create a hearty Italian menu perfect for a swift lunch, formal dinner or private party. Beck at Brown’s brings dishes from throughout Italy, showcasing the diversity in cooking techniques throughout the country, from the hearty meat and fish dishes found in the mountainous north to the fresh citrusy flavours in the sun-drenched south. Copy courtesy of Brown’s Hotel press Department.

Driving the West Coast of Japan

Wild Rugged Noto Peninsula West Coast Japan

Stunning Vistas along the west coast of Japan and the Noto Peninsula. Often secluded, the drive is a treasure trove of rugged coastline images.

Dream Destination for Art Lovers -Benesse House, Naoshima

Benesse House – Park


Benesse House was a hotel/ museum concept, started in 1992.
Based on the concept of “coexistence of nature, art and architecture.” Designed by Tadao Ando, the facility is built on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and features large large glass expanses that serve to open up the interior to the natural surroundings. In addition to exhibiting the painting, sculpture, photography, and installations in its collection, the Museum also contains permanent site-specific installations that artists have created especially for the building, selecting locations on their own and designing the works for those spaces. The hotels consist of Park- 47 rooms, Beach – 8 suites, Oval 6 rooms and 2 suites and the museum hotel- 8 rooms. Among the artists featured are Claude Monet- Water Lilies, Jean Michel Basquiat, James Turrell, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, Yayoi Kushama, and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Oval at Benesse House

Beniya Mukayu- A Relais & Chateaux Gem

Library

Tea Ceremony Beniya Mukayu

A marvelous addition to the Relais & Chateaux Japan collection is the beautiful Beniya Mukayu. Tranquil rooms with open-air baths in a hot springs hotel offering a garden setting, spa, and spectacular dining. The rooms have a traditional Japanese Mineral Spring tub. Located near the western coast of Central Japan, the drive offers spectacular coastal views.

Japanese Style Mineral Spring Tub

Typical bedroom Beniya Mukayu

Restaurant Kaiseki Horin

Iconic Miyajima Island

Miyajima

Itsukushima is an island in the western part of the Inland Sea of Japan, located in the northwest portion of Hiroshima Bay. It is popularly known as Miyajima which in Japanese means “Shrine Island”. The island is one of Hayashi Gahō’s Three Views of Japan designed in 1643.
What a thrill to see.

Buddhist Pagoda at Miyajima

Sasayuri-Ann, a Villa in the Japanese Countryside

Sasayuri-Ann

Interior Sasayuri- Ann

Sasayuri-Ann is one of about 8 small villas and Ryokans we are going to experience. Owned by a village Buddhist priest, Tetsuji Matsubayashi, the villa was surpassed all expectations! Hosted by he and his family, we were most pleasantly surprised to have a flute serenade by his teacher- who plays all over the world. Then the topper was having dinner prepared by another friend, a Michelin Chef.

Dinner cooked by a Michelin Chef! What an experience!

Japanese Countryside and Temple visits.

We visited the town of Nara – near Kyoto- on the way to an amazing country villa but more about that later. We visited Fushimi Inari, a shrine famous for it’s 10,000 gates. When one makes a donation, their name is inscribed on one of the gates. Stunning!

Fushimi Inari Shrine


Morning Mist Nara


Todjaiji Temple, largest wooden building in the world


Diety from Tojaiji Temple

Ritz Carlton Kyoto- a Japanese Jewel Box!

Ritz Carlton Kyoto


One checks in and gets an immediate sense of

Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Flowers at the Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Kyoto. Japanese culture is on display in every corner. Rooms are luxurious with a floor to ceiling window view of the city. Japanese design with an extreme sense of luxury. Both 5 Star hotels in Kyoto, the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons are superb choices for an experience in Kyoto.

Kyoto – Cultural Heart of Japan

Dinner with a Geisha

With so many stunning temples, castles, monasteries, Kyoto is packed with wondrous sights everywhere you turn. One needs at least 4-5 days here.


Shogun Palace Kyoto

Japan – Amazing Ancient Culture

Japan- amazing ancient culture!
Polite, respectful, serene. We are finding the people of Japan to be warm and welcoming! I am privileged to be on a 16 day journey planned by Windows to Japan. Today we are in Kyoto at the incredible Four Seasons Kyoto. Typically the FS service is over the top, and this hotel was perfect.

Golden Pavillion Kyoto[/caption]

Four Seasons Kyoto

Four Seasons Kyoto