Category Archives: swanky luxe stays

The Great Escape – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico


Welcome to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is a city at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula and is listed as one of the top 5 vacation destinations in Mexico. Located on the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas or Cape Saint Luke has almost picture-perfect weather year round. Offering all kinds of accommodation options, a wide range in dining and any activity you can dream up, it’s easy to see how Cabo San Lucas is a Mexico top spot for a couples retreat, family vacay or girls getaway!

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This visit was actually my second to Cabo San Lucas but much has changed since I was there many years ago and only for the better. It can be quite a haul from the east coast but I truly feel it’s worth the time investment. Anyone could be happy here, whether you’re a beach goer or an active sort, and I’m thrilled I made it a ‘Great Escape’.




Located just steps away from Medano Beach, Edith’s is a charming restaurant with a rustic Californian decor and vibe. Not only did I love the festive lanterns and candles scattered about, but the food, made with local ingredients, was amazing. I went with my usual order of enchiladas and was not disappointed. It probably didn’t hurt that the tortillas were hand-made.

Bar Esquina

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Bar Esquina at Bahia Hotel gives Mexican food a Mediterranean twist. Bar Esquina uses locally grown products, fresh fish from the Pacific & Sea of Cortez and the best meats cooked on a mesquite grill. Great inventive cocktails and live entertainment in the evenings make it that much more appealing. I love a good hotel scene and one sure fire way to guarantee that is to have a bar and restaurant that is a destination not just for the hotel guests but locals as well.

Guaycura Todos Santos


At Hotel Guaycura Restaurant, member of Small Luxury Hotels of the world, you can take in the sunset on the terrace, while sipping a refreshing cocktail by the pool. Dining alfresco is always fun especially while eating delicious Mexican/Mediterranean influenced dishes. Big on localized fare, Hotel Guaycura is fortunate to get its food supply from the nearby ocean and Todos Santos’ farms. The fresh fruit margaritas are to die for!


Nikki Beach

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It’s tough to beat a lazy afternoon, lounging on a poolside daybed, being served endless mojitos like they do it at Nikki Beach Cabo San Lucas. Located on Medano Beach at ME Cabo, this Nikki Beach has the same sexy vibe of the jetset see and be seen crowd as the others I’ve visited. I didn’t witness the live music but, if I had, I’m quite sure I would have enjoyed that scene too.

The Office


Now, if you are looking for a great place to have a drink right on the beach, The Office is your spot. Nothing like having a cold one, while your toes are in the sand, watching the world go by and listening to the waves. It’s casual and cool and definitely a must visit of Cabo! Yeah, I wanna be there right now too.


Bahia Hotel

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Bahia Hotel and Beach Club’s urban-chic style is completely inline with my vibe and you can feel the great attitude as soon as you step on property. I think it’s a combination of the crisp white flowy décor and the warm welcoming staff. I literally wanted to say ahhhhh when I walked in to the Bahia. This 85 room boutique hotel is located in the heart of the Medano Beach District which means you’re located steps from the most swimmable beach in Cabo, a whole host of activities as well as the best restaurants and nightlife.

Hotel California

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Located in the sleepy town of Todos Santos, it is rumored that Hotel California is the very one the Eagles wrote a song about. Urban myth or not, this eclectic 11 suite hotel is full of charm and has a great little restaurant on property too. Todos Santos is an artist community that has many galleries and artisan store fronts. Hotel California couldn’t be a better fit with its one-of-a-kind style. PS – the pool area is secluded and special.

Las Ventanas

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Las Ventanas al Paraiso is a lovely little slice of paradise 2o minutes outside of Cabo San Lucas. The AAA Five-Diamond awarded property has expansive suites, amazing culinary options and The Spa at Las Ventanas, which has been named one of the World’s Top 50 Spas by Tatler. You can tell this desert beach hideaway is perfect for couples and those wishing to get away from it all. It is a very special property, indeed, with thoughtful touches present throughout the resort.


Sunset Cruise

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I always say when you are visiting a destination with a body of water, you have to get out on it to see the place from another perspective. A sunset cruise aboard Sun Rider is a perfect way to accomplish that and more. The 2.5 hour long cruise includes a Mexican buffet, open bar, fun music and dancing. Plus, of course, the best sights to be seen of Cabo, like the famous Land’s End Arch, Lover’s Beach and the million dollar villas on the rough Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas. I definitely enjoyed the free-flowing margaritas and shaking my groove thing while aboard.

Stand Up Paddleboard

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CABO SUP is the first Stand Up Paddle Board Club offering lessons, rentals and guided tours on Medano Beach, Cabo’s most swimmable beach. This was my first foray into Stand Up Paddle Boarding and I absolutely loved it. I took a guided tour to Lover’s Beach at the Land’s End Arch. As they say at CABO SUP, there is no right or wrong way to Stand Up Paddle. Just get out on the water, enjoy nature and have fun.
PS – CABO SUP features the only Academy of Stand Up Paddleboard certified instructors in Baja.

Cabo Open of Surf

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The CABO OPEN OF SURF is a week-long newish event to Los Cabos where the destination is positioning itself as a niche location that’s all about surfing and the surf lifestyle. Located at Zippers – Costa Azul, obviously, you will find a surfing competition going on there. Also a part of  the Cabo Open of Surf is a music festival. I quite enjoyed my afternoon lounging on the beach, sipping a cerveza, watching the surfers and people scantily clad stroll by while tunes were playing in the distance. This year’s dates are June 16-22, 2014.

Rates for CABO SUP group guided tours are $30USD. Rates for Sun Rider’s Sunset Cruise are $68USD per person.

A HUGE GRACIAS to Bahia Hotel and Beach Club for hosting and arranging such an outstanding itinerary! You are most definitely ‘Lola Approved’!!


Filed under cabo san lucas, hipster hotels, mexico, swanky luxe stays, travel

Love Actually in Budapest – @FSBudapest Gresham Palace

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Budapest holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. During my first visit, I got stuck in this fantastic city due to the Icelandic volcano eruption that closed the European airspace for several days. It was one of the best trips of my life. I was excited to visit Budapest but really didn’t expect to love it so much. Why do I love it so? Well, to put it simply, it’s a little rough around the edges. It’s not perfect. It’s not trying to be anything but what it is. Budapest is an old city with many stories and rocky past. You can see signs of this everywhere. In the eclectic mix of architecture. In the monuments. In the graffiti. It’s said that Budapest was a leading cultural capital before World War II, up there with Prague and Vienna. Having visited all three of these European capital cities, I can tell you Budapest is still my favorite. The city is changing, evolving and returning to its glorious past. I just hope it doesn’t polish up too much. I think it’s a diamond just as it is.

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This return to Budapest was equally wonderful and my love for it remains just as strong. During my last visit I had the pleasure of staying in a hotel that’s a perfect example of what I just described. A stunning building with many stories and rocky past. Although there are no rocky signs now, just the previous glory of this structure, the stories remain. I’m talking about the Gresham Palace that is the Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest. Gresham Palace is acclaimed as one of the finest Art Nouveau buildings in the world and I couldn’t agree more. Not that I’ve seen every Art Nouveau building. It’s just that I wouldn’t necessarily gravitate to this style of architecture until I met this building. For me, there is nothing not to love. In fact, in all its grandeur, are signs of love all around!

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Located on the banks of the Danube on the Pest side, the Gresham Palace is over a century old and a historical landmark. The Hotel opened its doors in 2004 after a $110-million restoration of the property. Given what the structure had gone through, and the painstaking craftsmanship of the original details in mosaics, glass work, ironwork, ceramics, etc. it seems a low price to pay. Originally built as the luxurious foreign head office for the Gresham Life Assurance Company, when the building opened in 1906, it became Budapest’s most prestigious address. The architect, Zsigmond Quittner, was a leading Hungarian architect at the time. Influenced by avant-garde artists in Paris and Vienna, Quittner was given free reign with Gresham Palace. Using vivid colors, themes of nature and the top craftspeople, Quittner created a work of art. The underlying tale is that his design was a tribute to a mystery love in his life. The Art Nouveau building was not only an office but also a residence for British aristocracy, a hot shopping spot with exclusive boutiques, home to a popular coffee house, it even once housed a Cabaret.

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With the siege of Budapest during World War II, Gresham Palace was badly damaged. After the war the building was used for various other purposes but fell into a state of major disrepair. So much so it was almost lost. Thankfully, Hungarians loved this national treasure too and were able to partner with the fabulous Four Seasons to bring it back to its former glory. Of course there is all that one can expect in a Four Seasons property, luxury and modern conveniences, all tied with the elegance this structure holds. To me, it is so much more about the building than anything else. Four Seasons naturally takes pride in the 179 rooms, 17 suites Gresham Palace but so do local Budapest residents. And it is open for all to come in and enjoy. Located at the foot of the Chain Bridge in the heart of the city’s business, art & entertainment district, Gresham Palace is near so many of Budapest’s main sights. Visitors, however, might be inclined to just relax, step back in time and sip on some local Hungarian wine in the lobby lounge and famous peacock walking passage. Voted one of Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Travelers’ Choice Hotels of the World, Four Seasons Gresham Palace’s Gresham Cafe has an internationally recognized restaurant and on the top floor of is the hotel’s luxury spa inspired by Budapest’s ancient bath & spa traditions. All this may make a visit more perfect. For me, nothing is more perfect than the love put into Gresham Palace again and again. I have that same feeling of love for Budapest. It’s a place worth every effort.

A big KöSZ to Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest for hosting my stay. I’ve been in love with Budapest since we first met. Staying with you in a palace of love and hearts only makes my love that much deeper. You are perfection and completely ‘Lola Approved’. The views here are mine!


Filed under budapest, hungary, swanky luxe stays, travel

One Day Stay: Los Angeles, California


Los Angeles is quite a city. The ‘City of Angels’. The ‘City of the Stars’. I was looking forward to returning to LA and delving deeper into what the second largest city in North America has to offer. I’ve done the Hollywood tour thing before but I hadn’t completely experienced Los Angeles like a star. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed with my little luxe visit. Even though there is far more to do in Los Angeles than one day can hold, it’s an easy place to do a little at a time and I enjoy discovering more about LA with every return. Here’s some of what I did during this One Day Stay.


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Alright, I will admit it, if you didn’t already know…I’m a sucker for all things French! So, staying at Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills made Lola one happy girl. Not only is this 295 rooms & 28 suites hotel all things luxury, fashionable and French, they had a few other things that made my stay FAB. For one, I LOVE the Hermes products!! Yeah, and the view of the Hollywood Hills was pretty awesome too. Sending up all PINK amenities really won me over. BUT my breakfast in bed with a spicy bloody mary may have pleased me the most. This hotel definitely exudes a see and be seen Hollywood vibe and the location couldn’t be better. Not only did I not wish to leave, I didn’t even want to get out of their ridiculously comfortable bed! TRES ADORE YOU Sofitel.


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I have actually been to Los Angeles several times and enjoyed many different parts of the city. Let’s face it, it’s a big sprawling place with so much to see and do. BUT one thing I had NEVER done while visiting LA is go to the beach. It seems insane because when I think of California I immediately think of surf, sand & suntans. SO, I thought it was high time to visit the LA beaches. Fortunately, there’s a way to do this in style and it’s especially convenient for travelers. May I introduce you to the Beach Butler by Perry’s Cafe. Offered at 3 different Santa Monica locations, Beach Butler has two levels of service: standard and custom. Both come complete with a chair, umbrella, towel & table but the custom also offers the service of lunch and drinks. Standard service starts at $50 and custom at $100. It was perfect to drop in, relax in the Cali sunshine, have a bite and then leave without any of the fuss. Why oh why can’t every beach have this?!



Santa Monica is a neighborhood I’ve been to before but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what all you can do there. This visit to Los Angeles I had a few cocktail pit stops but by far my favorite was The Craftsman Bar and Kitchen. As they say themselves, it’s like drinking and dining in a beach style living room. Completely shabby chic, cozy & casual, naturally I enjoyed a hand crafted cocktail. It was delicious and I was delighted to have discovered this special spot in Santa Monica.


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Nic’s Beverly Hills was the perfect place for a great bite and a glass of wine while in LA. I particularly enjoyed the watermelon and goat cheese salad. Not only was it refreshing and delicious, it was also so creatively presented. BUT I have to tell the truth. The piece de resistance wasn’t the food for Lola. You see, Nic’s also offers this amazing experience, the VODBOX, which is right up my alley. You may be thinking “what the heck is a VODBOX?” It’s only the coolest walk-in freezer (no pun intended) for vodka tasting. The room is lined with literally hundreds of bottles of vodka. OH YEAH! Even better, you’re provided with faux fur coats & hats so you can stay warm inside the 28°F freezer. I loved the dressing up, of course, and the flight of vodka as well. Someone *should* remind me, though, tasting doesn’t mean you have to drink it all LOLA! Flights begin at $21 per person, bottle service begins at $250.

A huge Hollywood round of applause and thank you for a wonderful time in Los Angeles. My Beach Butler service in Santa Monica, cocktail at The Craftsman and dinner & drinks at Nic’s Beverly Hills were complimentary. Sofitel Los Angeles graciously gave me a press rate! All these experiences were very ‘Lola Approved’ and I express my own opinions.


Filed under california, los angeles, swanky luxe stays, travel

A City Experience & Country Escape in the UK with @FourSeasons

As you probably know, I have a big imagination. Sometimes I feel my life is like a movie. When I travel places it hard not to compare them to things I have seen on the big screen. I’m sure I’m not the only one that does this.


Traveling to the United Kingdom definitely conjures up visions of movies for me. I have a thing for the English and their stories…let’s call it a small obsession. So, it was like a dream to have a city experience in London and then a country escape to Hampshire. For me, it was very much like James Bond meets Pride & Prejudice. I know you must be able to imagine what I mean but you might still wonder how this happened. The location is part of the reason, of course, but the bigger explanation was where I was staying.


In London I stayed at the Four Seasons Park Lane. Maybe you are familiar with this property, it opened in 1970 as Four Seasons first European Hotel. Renovated and reopened in 2011, it’s now sexy, sleek and understated. Four Seasons Park Lane is playful but all English.

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Inspired by the 1930’s golden age of travel, the property’s color scheme is black with splashes of red and animal print. The house car is a Rolls Royce.  The restaurant has a wall of wine – all available by the glass.  The staff is impeccable. It feels like 007 will round the corner at any moment – most definitely luxurious and swanky enough for the likes of that infamous spy.  The property has 193 rooms and an amazing restaurant and bar, Amaranto, which serves inventive Italian with English style. I particularly loved their extensive cocktail menu MMMM.


Not to be missed at Park Lane is their incredible spa. The views of Hyde Park are ALMOST as good as the treatments. Located in the center of Mayfair, Four Seasons Park Lane is the ultimate city hotel just steps away from Knightsbridge. Another notable perk to this property is their 10th floor lounge made available for guests with early morning arrivals. How lovely since I typically arrive in London at 6AM!!


In the country I stayed at the Four Seasons Hampshire, an 18th century Georgian manor house with quite the storied past. Located in the heart of Hampshire, Dogmersfield Park was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and was the site of the first meeting between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Even Queen Elizabeth has visited this country estate. All I can say is it’s exactly as I would imagine a Georgian manor to be. Not only did I feel like I was stepping to a beloved Jane Austen novel, literally Jane Austen’s house turned museum is just 25 minutes away from the estate.

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Everything at Four Seasons Hampshire is light and airy, decorated with classic English furnishings – sophisticated not stuffy. The 500 acres of this estate include a canal, incredible gardens, gorgeous sweeping lawns and stables. You can borrow a pair of wellies boots and wander the grounds, perhaps even read your favorite book under a giant oak tree. I was looking for Mr. Darcy to turn up at any moment and tell me “You have bewitched me body and soul”. WHAT??! Let a girl dream. Opened in 2005, the property has 133 rooms, 3 restaurants, a stunning spa and more activities to keep any active person busy.


I gave horseback riding a college try and loved it but if that’s not your thing then there’s tennis, golf, croquet, bike riding, fishing, falconry, the list goes on. The best news is Four Seasons Hampshire is a 1 hour drive outside London. ONE HOUR!! Or you can travel by train from London Waterloo to Fleet Station and take a taxi 10 minutes to the property. Recently awarded ‘England’s Leading Resort’ by World Travel Awards, it truly is one of my favorite places I’ve visited. Between the divine gourmet dinner with locally sourced ingredients to the mixology class and cocktail tasting, it was beyond perfection and I can honestly say I was quite at home at Four Seasons Hampshire and had no desire to ever leave.

I would typically say I’m a city traveler but wouldn’t change anything about my Four Seasons city and country getaways. Well, except not actually meeting James Bond or Mr. Darcy. 😉 Thank you, Four Seasons, for hosting me and giving me the opportunity to experience both. I cannot wait to return to both properties at some point soon.

PS – if you are looking for some holiday magic, Four Seasons Hampshire has all kinds of things planned for the Festive Season. Check out It’s a Wonderful Life at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire for details.


Filed under hampshire, london, swanky luxe stays, travel, united kingdom

Connecticut Countryside Retreat – The Mayflower Grace by @GraceHotels

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I began my love affair with Grace Hotels when I first visited The Vanderbilt Grace last December and again in June. This luxury boutique hotel group really has the right idea of style, sophistication & sexiness for its guests! So, when I learned that Grace Hotels acquired a new property in nearby Connecticut, I just had to go check it out.

Located in Washington, Connecticut in picturesque Litchfield County, The Mayflower Grace  is less than 2 hours from New York City and roughly 3.5 hours from Boston. I’m not typically one to say “hey, let’s rent a car and go for a road trip in the USA,” I’m more likely to take a plane or a train, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to check out this acclaimed inn so I rented a sweet ride to chariot me to Connecticut. With accolades like “An American Legend Hailed as a Top US Inn”, “Forbes 5 Star Rating” and “Number One Spa in America”, I had some big expectations going into my stay with The Mayflower Grace. I was not let down!


For starters, Washington is a beautiful rural town in Connecticut that looks like it could be in the English Countryside. The Mayflower Grace perfectly fits its surroundings following suit in English manor style. There are 30 unique room accommodations and I placed in the Winslow Suite – said to be one of the more luxurious suites in the Mayflower House. I can attest that it was stunning with its separate living room and sitting area and giant marble bathroom with a separate walk in shower and deep soak tub. The best feature of the room was the balcony opening up to a gorgeous view of the Shakespeare Garden. I really felt like I was visiting the United Kingdom! My only disappointment was not having this lovely room for longer than one evening. I could have really spent more time there.

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During my visit I was also able to experience the delicious dining offerings in the tap room. Feeling British Pub-like, it was as cozy as it was wonderful. I was told of some updates coming soon to the menus and changes that will be made to the dining rooms’ decor. All the plans sound fabulous and will bring new shine to The Mayflower Grace dining, which is open to both guests and the local public.

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The grounds of The Mayflower Grace are not to be missed as well. Set upon 58 acres, not only is there the Shakespeare Garden but also the American Poetry Maze. Big trees and established plantings abound among the rolling hills. I loved the outdoor pool and would definitely like to log some time there during the summertime. There is no way you cannot feel serenity and relaxation in these surroundings and I’m sure in every season.

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Now, for the best part of The Mayflower Grace – the spa!! Sure, I like a spa treatment every now and then but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge spa-goer. After touring the spa at The Mayflower Grace I was certain I would be missing out on a world class experience if I didn’t have some kind of treatment. So, naturally, I booked a massage and let them choose what they thought might be best for me to experience. It was decided I should try Hammam, a red flower treatment ritual with roots from ancient Byzantine bath houses. Using a blend of orange blossom, jasmine, bergamot, amber & clove, this treatment was both invigorating and therapeutic and includes a combination of detoxifying washes, clay, exfoliation, steam and massage. Although involved, let me just say it was 90 minutes of heaven and the best treatment I’ve ever had. Definitely worth the road trip to Connecticut! This 20,000 square foot luxury spa is truly gorgeous and offers full services for their guests. Definitely allow extra time to indulge in relaxing in the Garden Room. You will not be sorry for lingering.

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For nature lovers, nearby is the Steep Rock Nature Preserve which is one of the oldest land trust’s in Connecticut. Hiking, biking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing are just a few of the activities you can experience here. There are also opportunities for horseback riding, fishing, golfing, tennis, antiquing, the list goes on.

In August 2013, this Relais & Chateaux five-star, five-diamond accommodations joined the award-winning Grace Hotels group which has an international reputation for its boutique hotels on five continents around the world. The development brings new investment to the property along with a décor refresh and some classic Grace style elements, including an all-new fine dining experience. Sensitively and gradually, these enhancements will be merged in over the coming months while still preserving all the things about the Mayflower that patrons have come to know and love.

Thank you to The Mayflower Grace for inviting me to come experience your incrediblelola_blackpink property. I totally ‘Lola Approve’ it and I know where I will be checking in when I next need some R&R! I fully anticipate all previous and new patrons will find all is well and perhaps even better with The Mayflower Grace! The views here are mine!


Filed under connecticut, swanky luxe stays, travel, USA