the view: private island wanton

blue bay ibiza

all this talk of yachting got me thinking.  yachting is really not much fun unless you have a private island to go with it.

i’ve already waxed poetic about necker island. it is my happy place, even though i’ve never been there or invited (cough, cough mr. branson), it speaks to me in the way a young wolf yearns to speak to the moon.  but since my invitation from mr. branson has clearly been lost in an unfortunate mail incident i find myself searching for other suitable private-island options:

laucala island resort

laucala island – owned by red bull kajillionaire, dietrich mateschitz, the island is catered to sporty indulgence. championship golf course (though i don’t golf, it’s nice to know it is an option), 5,000 sq. meter swimming pool (one avoids congestion this way), and a flotilla stocked with jet skis and other completely necessary water accouterment. and if sports aren’t your bag, just take up residence in its 5-star spa or in your private pool. skinny dipping encouraged.

ariara island

ariara  – dreams do come true. and it starts at ariara. located in the phillipines, this island is truly private.when you rent it, it’s yours to have and to hold (along your 17 other guests) and to call your very own. the villas are spaced throughout the 125-acre island, each with tangible luxury in the form of local linens, marble and woodwork.  when your not enveloped in the island’s surrounding greenery, it is suggested you take a tour of the underwater world with your personal dive master florian mueller. he’ll give you more than a few things to look at…

blue bay

blue bay – a private residence located hillside in ibiza, blue bay is so opulent a home, fitzgerald might have very well dreamt up in one of his luxury-laden tales. besides the stunning architecture, 500-thread count linens, and property waterfalls, this spanish oasis comes with a full time staff (chauffer with matching chapeau included), concierge, butler, and a jeep wrangler should guests want to get in touch with their “wild side.” and lest we forget the 22’ mastercraft or private go-karting track.

though none of the above have a necker nymph, which is entirely regrettable, i suppose i could make do. let’s just hope these island/resort owners have the correct address for my forthcoming invitation. that’s natacha with a “c.” thanks.


the view: the klementinum

it’s magic. you can tell just by looking at it.

the ceilings seem alive, whispering of times past and present  the ebb and flow of dark wood bearing the literary world’s greatest achievements; the cavernous space echoing ancient mysteries and whimsical theories.

it’s not hogwarts, or an elaborate scene out of macaulay culkin’s (wildly underappreciated) pagemaster. it’s the klementinum library in prague.

and i want to go.

first to indulge, second to read, third to take decorating notes.

the grandeur is completely scalable to an 850sqft apartment and everyone loves a good 16th century globe. especially this girl.

berlin, the comeback kid

i am stricken with the impetuous travel bug. like many, it ails me throughout the year, particularly on mondays, and generally between 2pm and 5pm.

today’s fix? berlin. why? the festival of lights.

for two weeks every year, berlin and its landmarks get bathed in artist-inspired, large-scale displays of light. the candyland concoction of colors, images and shapes on nearly 300-year old buildings, is not only visually stunning, but also pays tribute to the city’s dichotomous nature – the young with the old, the history mixed in with the present.

in truth, beyond the festival, berlin has actually always intrigued me. a city that is in constant juxtaposition with a sobering past, yet doesn’t ignore it, but builds upon it with modernism and a continually renewed sense of culture (the festival being a perfect example).

that renewed culture has lead to an influx of the european creative class – thick-rimmed glasses, tousled-hair, painstakingly disheveled – you know the type. a walk down the street recalls images of modern-day getrude steins and arthur rimbauds; refined hipsters perhaps…except there they are just berliners. no judgment though, these stylishly precocious denizens have galvanized the city with an explosive contemporary art scene, an independent film community and a food forum to rival that of london and paris.

all of this to say…i need to go. and i need to go now.

perhaps a stay at the schlosshotel im grunewald (anything that has oxblood walls and touts 600+ thread count calls my name), a saunter over to andreas murkudis’s eponymous concept store (i.want.everything.) and stop for a savory treat at konnopke’s imbiss (you just can’t go wrong with a 50-year old sausage stand)…and of course the festival of lights.

the city’s constant evolution is mesmerizing…even in pictures…and on this bland monday, i can think of no better place to daydream myself to than new ole’ berlin.

the catalog of my dreams

squeal! christmas has come early. LITERALLY.

neiman marcus’ christmas books is out. deep breaths. every year i wait with bated breath for their christmas catalog of delights.

while the clothes may be nice and the shoots may impress, it is the fantasy gifts the put a skip in my step. this year the gifts range from a mere $30,000 to a cool $1.1MM, offering even the most modest of hedonists a chance to get in on the fun.

(the fact that my bank account does even register on the luxury richter-scale is really a non-issue. i’m banking on some sympathetic gajillionaire reading the post and so forth taking pity on my meager soul by purchasing 1-3 of the below items. i’ll also take a cash check if that is preferable.)

1) jetlev R200 – $99,500 – yup, that water-propelled jetpack that let’s is users hover 30ft in the air and coincidentally also causes it’s users to face-plant from 30ft in the air. regardless it’s pretty neat and i am fan of water propulsion. and while you may think the price is expensive for a a hovercraft, neiman marcus throws in a boat, a pilot certification course and radios so you can gab whilst hovering.

2) bulleit woody tailgate trailer – $150,000– while i have never been or heard of a tailgate quite as high-brow as bulleit’s, i figure you are never too old to learn. and i happen to be quite fond of learning things that involve bourbon.  leather furnishings, wood finishings (handcrafted from reclaimed bulleit bourbon casks…of course), glassware, a flat-screen tv, blu-ray, a surround-sound system, plus a one-year supply of bulleit bourbon. truth be told, if i had this i wouldn’t even go out anymore. i would just invite friends to meet me on random street corners for a glass of bourbon and some boogie knights on blu-ray.

3) his and hers 2012 – $1,090,000 – let’s begin with the van cleef & arpels watches: their movement alone took five engineers three years to create. dial scenes become animated (yes, this is an animated watch folks) silhouettes are the hours, shooting stars are the minutes and they each dance to the time across paris landmarks. anhhh…well if this couldn’t get any more romantic, the lucky buyer will also be whisked off to paris and geneva (first-class of course) and given private tours of the van cleef & arpels boutique, atelier and watchmaking workshops (riveting). but they are also providing “remarkable dining experiences and entertainment to suit your preferences,” while in paris, albet i wonder how far someone (read: me) can take that…

and my personal favorite:

4) private dinner for 10 – $250,000 – while this may seem a bit steep for dinner, behold: four of the culinary world’s most notable chefs—daniel boulud, thomas keller, jerome bocuse, and richard rosendale—will be at your beck and call for your own personal feast. in tow they are bringing bertha gonzalez (THE maestra tequilera, duh), to kick off the evening with a serious tequila tasting. my mouth is performing taste bud olympics at the mere thought. the only thing missing is the matching gym membership you’ll need after partaking in such gluttony. but hey i am sure that will make next year’s catalog, and the gym will be located in heaven and god will be your personal trainer.

so who’s up for some shopping?

the view: ecuador from above

it’s monday. and with it has come an undulating wave of procrastination and mind-wandering.

today my walter-mitty musings have taken me to ecuador.

the canyon steps

why such a random place you might ask? well, i am currently in event-planning hell and any place with a beach sounds better than my sun-deprived cubicle and trying to select the perfect neck width for rented tuxedos.

while i am not in favor of eco-lodges and all natural reserves (too many bugs, too little room service), ecuador has incredible splendors, even if it doesn’t come in the form of a goose-down mattresses.

one such splendor: el pailon del diablo national park.

if the fact that it has devil in its name is not a selling point in it’s own right, let’s discuss waterfalls. they are big; they are bold; and almost excessive.

located in banos de agua santa or commonly referred to as “gateway to the amazon,” this garden of eden is full of forbidden fruits (and i am not just talking about the birkenstock-and-socks-clad tourists), mesmerizing views and a myriad of walking paths that make the hogwarts staircase look elementary.

ok, so i recognize there is no beach in banos or the park, but the waterfall works just as well for daydreams, especially if there is some under-the-waterfall action a la tom cruise and elisabeth shue in “cocktail.”

del diablo hear i come in deed…

the view: from moscow with love


in late july, cheery russian president, vladimir putin signed a new visa agreement doing away with the laborious and disheartening us visa process (a.k.a one needs a formal invitation) thereby opening the proverbial flood gates to u.s fanny packs and tampa bay visors.

for those of you that stray from overly-american accessories and are truly interested in lapping up the culture of this rigidly interesting nation, i suggest beginning with the ritz carlton – moscow. (yes, i recognize that the ritz is really not russian by nature, but i assure they have seemed to adapt the culture just fine.)

very much old world soviet meets new world democracy (if i may), the hotel boasts the highest level amenities with an unwavering 18th-century flair – wood carved doors, plush pillows, floating fireplaces, spa space chairs – you know, the usual. with an opulence factor that knows no bounds, and let’s face it in a comical twist of fate (or politics) the russians have come to define the term opulence (have you seen their fur coats, right?), the hotel is packed with a library containing over 800 vintage works, a spa that makes you believe in time travel, and rooms that perch themselves perfectly at the moscow skyline.

don’t forget about their exclusive wine-room which touts the oldest and most exclusive collection of petrus wine or their restaurant aptly named carviarterra (only in russia can you use caviar in the tile of your restaurant…how delightfully pretentious.) from there you can tap into the hotel concierge’s moscow prowess to assemble the perfect tour – the kremlin, the bolshoi ballet, the conservatory…all the while knowing you’ll be coming home to anna karenina and your made for a menage-a-trois-tub.

hey it is vacation…just be careful not to drop it in the tub…tolstoy will be less than thrilled.