Luxury Guide to Basel, Switzerland

It seems that life in Basel is in general luxurious, with the city’s access to some of the best museums, cultural events, a thriving food culture, cafes & nightlife, fashion and historical neighborhoods as well as easy access to France & Germany. The day to day is very culturally rich and just being in Basel felt like a privilege. I profile some of the finest hotels, top local restaurants, best neighborhoods and premier activities and museums in this Luxury Guide.

Featured: Hotel Trois Rois, Fondation Beyeler, Berower Park, River Ferry, Hotel Nomad

24 Hours in the Valais, Switzerland

Glaciers, ziplines, mountain peaks and stunning views–Valais is one of Switzerland’s most gorgeous regions. I explore the best things to do in one full day from the Matterhorn to Gornergrat, fat biking in Crans Montana to dining on the best food ever. Oh and don’t forget apres ski. You will love your 24 hours in Valais.

Lake Geneva Luxury Guide

 

From the most fabulous hotels to homemade menus at gourmet restaurants, hand crafted wines to Belle Epoque vintage trains, the Lake Geneva region offers so much in the way of luxury.

Featured: The Royal Savoy Hotel, The Grand Hotel Du Lac, L’Auberge de l’Onde, Saint Saphorin, GoldenPass Panoramic Train, GoldenPass Classic train, Chaplin’s World

A Luxury Guide to Geneva, Switzerland

Switzerland is known for high quality goods, luxury items and world renowned food and Geneva is a city that perfectly embodies all of this. I spent 3 amazing days in Geneva, staying at the Hotel President Wilson, enjoying their Michelin restaurant, spa and waterfront rooms. I toured through this historic city and it’s many charming neighborhoods, checking out the watches at famous Les Ambassadeurs, sailing on a steam ship lunch cruise and exploring the trendy Carouge district. The Michelin restaurants, like La Flacon, were unrivaled. If you want to live it up in Geneva, check out some of these incredible experiences with me.

Featured: Hotel President Wilson, Les Ambassadeurs, La Savoie Steamship, Glow Bar, Bayview Restaurant by Michael Roth

The 5 Best Experiences at Barceló Bávaro Beach

Give me a beach, a sunset, a pool, some palm trees or any combination of those things, and I’m all set. With that being said, clearly the Caribbean is one of my favorite destinations of all time. Each island has it’s own personality and culture, with one common denominator– crystalline beaches with shimmering aqua waters. Well, the Dominican Republic was no exception.

Travel is as much about who you are with as where you are going. I was lucky enough to be able to snag my good friend and cameraman CJ, to embark on a Caribbean adventure with me. We also were joining a group of other talented vloggers from around the globe–so much creativity on one island. In total 26 vloggers were invited to three of the Barceló resorts in Latin America and the Caribbean, and each of us produced our own interpretation of the resort experience, through our own lens.

CJ & I tackling the DR

CJ & I tackling the DR

Our mission: Visit the Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort in Punta Cana, and document what made this place special. Often all-inclusives are thought of as places for families or for those that just want to drink endless margaritas in the pool. They work for both those types of travelers, but I felt this resort in particular was offering a lot more in the way of the local experiences, variety of food and general level of quality. Only one way to find out–CJ and I packed our cameras, our swim gear and hopped down the Dominican Republic to discover Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort.

Our Plan: Capturing this huge resort and its many experiences was no easy feat. As you know, filming hotels is one of my specialities, but this was an exception based on the sheer size of this resort. It had to be go go go from dawn till (much after) dusk. We had a lot of activities, restaurants, pools and beaches to check out and limited time. However, CJ and I share similar travel styles in that we are up for everything and we say yes to every adventure, tiredness be damned. So we filmed at break-neck pace– eating, drinking, dancing, sailing, swimming, golfing, water-sliding, beaching and of course, laughing, all day, every day.

Choosing to break down our videos by what you can do in just one day, we cover our favorite activities, eats, areas from the minute we woke up to when we shut off the light. From all the dining options (including beach pineapples), to what the room really looks like to all the fun that can be had on their breath-taking beach–we fit each theme into a jampacked 24 hours.

Our Videos: We feel these videos capture the vibrant energy of the Barceló Bávaro Beach, and the nonstop attitude of our traveling selves. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of this island paradise and why you would want to visit (and trust me, you do).
[jwplayer mediaid=”3038″]

Watch the rest of my videos here–> 24 Hours at Barceló Bávaro Beach

The Five Best Experiences at Barceló Bávaro Beach

1. Order a Pineapple on the Beach

PINEAPPLE HAPPY

PINEAPPLE HAPPY

You may have to take a long stroll on the sand to find this tiny shack that is serving fresh coconuts and pineapples filled with delicious juice or a combo of juices and RUM. This photo-worthy treat is perfect on a sunny day in the sand, by the pool or really just anywhere.


2. Find your Private Paradise

Paradise Found

Barceló Bávaro has of course, a very long, very spread out beach and I never felt cramped. However, if you really want a remote, “Castaway” style experience, go out to the beach and walk right. Keep walking till you pass the lounge chairs and come to a narrower stretch of untouched beach. There’s nothing over here besides palms and fallen coconuts. This is a perfect area to plant yourself for a few hours of undisturbed beach bliss.

3. Order Breakfast In

Views with a side of breakfast

Views with a side of breakfast

The breakfast buffet has a lot of fresh options but all that tastes even better when it’s served to you in your own room. My room had a balcony with a DELICIOUS view of the ocean, so I invited CJ over and we ordered the breakfast in, completely with chocolate strawberries and champagne. Shouldn’t every day start like this?

4. Play Golf

Beautiful outdoor course

Beautiful outdoor course

It’s hard to pull me away from the water but I do like golf and the course at Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort was really exciting, with lots of ponds, lakes–even flamingos! I would suggest playing in the early morning or around sunset to minimize the heat and maximize your beach day.

5. Submerge

Pooltime

Pooltime

I love to be in the water–swimming, snorkeling, kayaking–you name it. But there’s something about the underwater lounge chairs that I just couldn’t get over. You can lounge comfortably in these built-in chairs in the adults-only pool. Get an icy beverage if you want to make the good feels last longer.


Did I mention pineapples?

Pina

Piña

Watch the rest of the videos from the #BarceloStories project here–> Barcelo Stories

xo
Kelley

borgo santo pietro tuscan cooking school

How to be a Michelin Starred Chef in Italy: Tuscany’s Cooking School

If you like Italian food and think being a renowned chef could be an exciting career change for you, I’ll tell you how to do it. It’s easy… well sort of.

Step 1: Book yourself a ticket to Italy and then make your way to Tuscany.

Step 2: Enroll at a cooking school at a prestigious boutique hotel, where your instructors are all Michelin starred chefs. (I’d suggest either Borgo Santo Pietro, a flawless luxury boutique hotel with their own vegetable gardens and farm, or Il Falconiere, an inviting, family run high-end boutique nestled on an olive garden.)

Step 3: Put on the apron and roll up your sleeves because you will be getting pasta dough, ricotta and olive oil

Step 4: Follow your teachers examples and create culinary masterpieces, with your own personal spin of course.

Step 5: Wait for Michelin to call you.

Okay, it might not be that easy, but these courses definitely give you a start.
I’ve been to Italy over a dozen times and have lived in Tuscany and Umbria for extended periods. On my recent two week trip to Tuscany this past summer, my favorite memories were when my hair was covered in flour, my arm muscles burning from kneading pasta dough and mouth salivating from the Tuscan aromas wafting from our army of pots and pans in a working kitchen. I love EATING Italian food, who knew that I’d love to actually learn how to make it!

At Il Falconiere, Silvia Baracchi is the owner as well as the head chef, and she conducts the cooking lessons herself, in this homestyle kitchen. She laughs, she chatters, she makes jokes and she makes sure that you get as much out of the class as possible. Don’t think this is a “watch & learn” situation. She gives you your own setup and you need to follow along and try to keep up with her high-speed pace.

We made 4 courses over the course of this 4 hour class—but don’t worry— you get to sample your creations as well as sip some of Silvia’s own family wine, Baracchi, to keep your stamina up. Ultimately, you dine on your creations in their al fresco courtyard as the sun sets. Bellissima.
Over at Borgo Santo Pietro, luxurious doesn’t begin to describe it. This manicured property houses historic farmhouses, an infinity pool, a chicken coop, tennis courts, a lilly pond and so many twists and turns, you can easily find yourself a private oasis. But make sure to make your way over to the Borgo Cooking School. Michelin starred Chef Andrea Mattei helms the kitchen and will give you a full on tutorial in how to make rustic Tuscan cuisine with an edge of elegance. His charming personality and broken English make the lesson just as fun as it is informative.

For the carb inclined, a local nonna from the village comes up to show you, in her abrupt but endearing manner, how to create ravioli. Flour and farm fresh eggs become the most heavenly mouthful of spinach and cheese filled goodness. And sweet lovers like me have to take a chocolate making class with Chef Diego Poli. You start with cacao beans and end with the luscious, melt-in-your hand chocolate before you finish your espresso.

 

Love, Travel & Getting Married: The Best Day of My Life

People always say that their wedding day is the best day of our lives. I didn’t buy all those clichés until… I got married myself. I was lucky enough to wed the man that I’d been with for 6 years in the most special place to us in the world. We were married barefoot on the sand in Saint Lucia, at the jaw-dropping Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort (many of you may know me as a Hotel Snob, let me tell you–this hotel will knock your socks off, no matter how much of a snob you are ;).

There’s so much more to say about the catamaran cruise, the rehearsal dinner at Ladera and the big day on the sand and dancing at the Bayside Restaurant, but since it’s our ONE YEAR anniversary, I’m going to release the never before seen Wedding Video. Let me know what you think!

 

 

Hotel Snob: The G.O.’s of Club Med Punta Cana

I had never experienced Club Med before so I had no idea about the GO’s, or Gentil Organisateurs. GO’s are basically there to help–whether it’s with a particular activity or experience, or just to say hello in the mornings. These friendly faces definitely made the Club Med Punta Cana experience warm and inviting.

I got to spend time with a particularly wonderful GO, Christelle, and she gave me a great tour of Tiara, the 5 Diamond Luxury Space which she manages. Impressive rooms each with an ocean view, this exclusive space has it’s own bar, beach and infinity pool. When she invited me over for their daily champagne sunset toast, I couldn’t say no!