Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Points Guy: What to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

One of my latest posts on The Points Guy is about how I spent my time in Luang Prabang, Laos, during my recent round-the-world trip.

The city is a fascinating blend of Lao royal and religious culture, French colonial relics, and gorgeous scenery along the Mekong River. Also to do? Elephant safaris, longboat rides, and helping young monks improve their English. It was one of the best stops on my trip, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

To read more about what I did, check out my original post on TPG here: What to do on a Visit to Luang Prabang

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

JustLuxe: Four Fabulous New Nordic Cuisine Restaurants

During my recent round-the-world trip, I spent a few weeks roaming the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, and one of the highlights was the cuisine. Even just a decade ago the idea of Scandinavia as a culinary destination would have been something of a joke - the land of smorgasbord and smoked herring. But thanks to a cadre of enterprising and experimental young chefs, including Rene Redzepi of Noma who put "new Nordic" cuisine on the map, the restaurants in these countries are some of the most exciting in the world to eat at these days.

I was lucky enough to eat at nearly a dozen fabulous places, but singled out four in particular for my most recent JustLuxe post on the new Nordic trend. They were Oaxen Krog in Stockholm, Falsled Kro on the island of Funen in Denmark, Spis in Helsinki and Lysverket in Bergen.

Read about what makes each one so special and some of the mouthwatering dishes I sampled in my full article on JustLuxe: Four Fantastic New Nordic Restaurants You Have Not Heard Of...Yet

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Metrosource Magazine: Designer Bill Bensley Profile

I branched out a bit in the most recent issue of Metrosource Magazine, the Design Issue, to write a profile of a man whose work I've admired for a while now, hotel designer and landscape architect Bill Bensley.

I've seen Bensley's work up close at properties like the Four Seasons Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle as well as read about it when researching trips to Asia and considering where to stay in Vietnam, Bali, Thailand and more. The man's fingerprints are all over Southeast Asia and almost overnight it seems like he has become the "starchitect" of the region.

Interested to learn more about him, I talked to him about his aesthetic, how he goes about envisioning each project, some of his hallmarks and what he looks for in a travel experience himself. His answers were both challenging and illuminating.

You can read the full article at Metrosource here: An American Designs Asia

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Points Guy: Booking a Round-The-World Award Using US Airways Miles

For my latest Points Guy post, I wrote about my experience using US Airways miles to book a round-the-world business class award for the same price as a roundtrip ticket just to Asia would have been.

For the grand total of 90,000 miles and $143 in taxes and fees, I flew business class from New York to Hong Kong via Taipei on EVA, then on to Stockholm in Singapore Airlines business class, and finally back to New York on SAS - all for the same amount of miles that a simple roundtrip ticket to Hong Kong would have required.

It required some work, patience and insider knowledge, but you can do it too! Here's how: Flying a Round The World Award Using US Airways Miles

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Metrosource Magazine: Republique Restaurant Review

Walter Manzke is one of my favorite chefs in town, and he proves himself once more at his latest restaurant, Republique.

It's in the former Campanile space on La Brea and features a farm-to-table French-skewed menu that includes my favorite escargot as well as thinks like hamachi crudo with grapefruit and Fresno chile, and pig face over frisee with a poached egg.

The cocktails and wine list are pretty interesting too. Read my full review from Metrosource Magazine here: All Together Now: Republique Review

Monday, July 14, 2014

JustLuxe: First Look Inside Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

If you're an aviation geek like me, then the big news from your week was the unveiling of Boeing's next-generation 787-9 Dreamliner. The first airline to operate this new plane will be Air New Zealand, and I was lucky enough to be invited up to Boeing's facility at Everett Field in Washington State for the unveiling of the new plane and a sneak peek at its interior before it made its delivery flight to Auckland. It was an exciting moment not only because of the new plane but also because it's a great airline and one that I have had fantastic experiences with.

Much of the plane will look familiar to anyone who has flown Air NZ's 777-300's with similar (though smaller) business and economy cabins. However, there is an all-new premium economy class that looks pretty comfy, and all kinds of fun features like automatic window tints and humidifying and pressurizing systems that should lessen the effects of flying and jet lag.

All in all, it was an exciting event, and you can read all about it as well as taking a look at the new plane in my full JustLuxe article: Take Your First Look Inside Air New Zealand's New Dreamliner B787-9

Thursday, July 10, 2014

JustLuxe: 5 Unique Hong Kong Luxury Hotel Amenities

I love Hong Kong. It has to be one of my favorite cities. Fast-paced, cosmopolitan, exotic, and just plain fun. It also happens to be home to some of the best hotels in the world including a list of luxury properties a mile long.

I got the chance to experience four of them on my past trip to the city, and what most impressed me was the variety and detail of the luxury amenities they offer their guests - from one-off restaurant champagne tastings to pampering spa treatments, private BMW chauffeur service to kid-friendly treats. These hotels go above and beyond to provide their guests with the best possible experience.

With that in mind, take a look at my most recent JustLuxe article on the top five luxury hotel amenities in Hong Kong here: 5 Unique Hong Kong Luxury Hotel Amenities

Monday, July 7, 2014

JustLuxe: The Mulia Resort Bali - Bringing Luxury Back

Bali has had a hard decade after the terrorist bombings of 2002. Tourism there hit a wall, but it has slowly been coming back and there are a lot of new resorts opening their doors these days including a sprawling luxury property in the southern beach town of Nusa Dua called The Mulia.

The resort is really three hotels in one. I stayed at the boutique property, The Mulia, and my two-night stay was all too short, though I did try to experience every corner of the place, from the eight restaurants to the spa, to the various pools and beaches.

Read all about my experience and the resort's amenities in my article on JustLuxe here: The Mulia Boutique Property is Breathing Fresh Life into the Bali Luxury Hotel Scene

Friday, July 4, 2014

JustLuxe: Amantaka Luxury Resort in Luang Prabang, Laos

On my recent round-the-world trip, one of my main destinations was the gorgeous, UNESCO-listed city of Luang Prabang in Laos. This former royal capital has an intriguing French colonial flair, fabulous restaurants, wonderful things to see nearby including waterfalls, caves and elephant camps, and a slew of fantastic hotels.

The top-tier resort in town is Aman Resorts' Amantaka, where I was able to spend two nights during my stay, and enjoyed every moment of it. Read my review on JustLuxe to find out why.

Luang Prabang's Amantaka Resort & Spa is Filled With Luxury, A Sense of Place & History