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 Monkey Tree Hotel in Palm Springs

If you haven’t visited Palm Springs yet, you need to go. It is like no other place I’ve ever been. And this little boutique hotel is the perfect oasis for your exploration in the desert. The Monkey Tree Hotel has retro charm, spacious & stylish rooms, great breakfast, fun pools & ideal location in Palm Springs. I have a perfect weekend away, lounging in the floating flamingos, enjoying free Sangria at the tiki bar, using their hot/cold tubs & sauna and just hanging our 1960s theme room.
This hotel has a whole lot of history too! Designed in 1960 by Albert Frey, the Monkey Tree Hotel was a favorite among the Hollywood glamorous set. JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn, the Beatles… the list goes on. Ask the husband & wife owners about this–they know all the 60s gossip!

Glamping & Wilderness Estates at The Resort at Paws Up

Luxury camping, or “glamping,” was born at The Resort at Paws Up. These tents have full bathrooms, full beds and stylishly rustic touches with decks. Depending on the camp you choose, you could have river or mountain views. I enjoyed a tour of the River Camp and dinner in their pavilion, to the tune the eagles and the calm stream.
I stayed in a Wilderness Estate, which is a luxury on a whole other level. With a giant fireplace and open-air common room, a lofted living room, outdoor grill and hot tub, these private residences make you feel like you are living in Montana. Each stunning and unique bedroom has it’s own bathroom along with a jacuzzi. Lucky for me, mine had incredible views of the meadows beyond.

Let me know what you think!

For more information, check out www.pawsup.com

Feasting in Montana: A Long Table Dinner Event

I’d NEVER been to Montana so getting to see it for the first time in the summer, while staying at The Resort at Paws Up, felt too good to be true. But it actually, got even better. The main event of my long weekend with my gal pal Valorie was The Bounty on the Blackfoot. Several times a year, Paws Up hosts these spectacular outdoor dinners featuring their own Executive Chef Ben Jones, as well as a well-regarded guest chef. In this case, we had Chef Brooke Williamson, Top Chef alum, and owner of 3 outstanding restaurants in Southern California.
This particular dinner was held on Saturday night, out in one of the wide open meadows, just as the sun was setting. It started with a farmer’s market, where local vendors came in as guests learned more about local Montana goods. Then later guests took their seats at one, VERY long table, to dine, drink and laugh as the sky turned pink.
I profiled the event and even got to interview Chefs Ben and Brooke, as they prepared from early in the morning to at the time of service out in the field.
It was simply put: outstanding.
Learn more about their Long Table events here: http://www.pawsup.com/montana-long-ta…

Food at The Resort at Paws Up

Open air dinner, picnic on the trail, campfire smores, riverside dinners–the food at The Resort at Paws Up is an experience all it’s own. Out in the middle of 37,000 acres of Montana wilderness, this resort is elegance meets rustic. From the ample breakfast spread to amazing cozy bar Tank, the upscale Pomp for dinner or even dining in your camp pavilion or wilderness estate–the quality is top notch.
My favorite part–there’s a huge focus on local vendors so you are drinking whiskey from down the road, enjoying meats from nearby farms and devouring vegetables from the farmer’s market!

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

Outdoor Adventures at The Resort at Paws Up

River rafting. Horseback Riding. Forest Picnic. Massage in a luxury tent. There’s SO much you can do at this huge resort, I definitely had a blast trying to fit as much as I could in just 3 days. Check out my favorite outdoor adventures at this working ranch and luxury glamping resort!

Special thanks to gal pal and camerawoman, Valorie Darling!

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.

 

Cooking with Locals: Silvia Baracchi of Il Falconiere

I love to EAT Italian food, so it’s high time that I learn how to cook it, the Italian way! Michelin star chef, Silvia Baracchi invited myself and my parents to have a cooking class with her at her cute Tuscan kitchen on the breath-taking relais & chateaux estate of Il Falconiere. We made a 3 course meal from scratch, sipping wine, learning tricks and laughing along the way. A bonus is you get to eat what you make later on at their stunning al fresco restaurant. A truly memorable afternoon and meal.

Hotel Raphaël, Rome, Italy

The HOTEL SNOB is at it again! I traveled to Italy this summer and spent a fantastic weekend in Rome. I chose to stay at Hotel Raphaël because of its location near Piazza Navona, it’s eco-friendliness and it’s amazing rooftop. I was pleased with my stay–the rooms were stylish and modern, breakfast was hearty & delicious and the rooftop was breathtaking, now with a new restaurant. The location is hard to beat if you want to be in the middle of all the sites and I enjoyed the surrounding small streets. See the hotel for yourself and let me know if you agree with my review!