travel guide

London Roundup- 5 Gorgeous + Hip "BOUTIQUE" Hotels (that are so instagrammable)

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Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse

Marylebone- Brick townhomes and apartments that used to be mansions. I mean, how amazing would it be to live in one of these gorgeous homes?

Marylebone- Brick townhomes and apartments that used to be mansions. I mean, how amazing would it be to live in one of these gorgeous homes?

A little about Marylebone 

Okay, so we were in London a couple weeks ago and happened to get really  lucky when booking our hotel! Its hard to know which hotels to stay in because sometimes places look different in person, and the vibe is always hard to tell until you're there. We loved staying  in the calm but very hip Marylebone area (near Mayfair) where the restaurant and shopping scenes are very quaint and charming but still super cool with curated shops anyone would love. We felt tucked away, yet were still blocks from the craze of Oxford St. with mass market shops and tourists.  It feels like what you would imagine a cozy London town to feel like with the Holiday decor up on every street post, twinkly bistro lights in every restaurant window, and EVERY SINGLE doorway and "apartment" (or townhouse mansion?) building bordered in ornate moldings and brick. It's GORGEOUS! 

I rounded up hotels that I would want to stay at the next time I'm in town based on the most important criteria, at least to me...aesthetics. I am in love with interiors, as most of you know if you follow me on insta, so of course kept my eyes and ears peeled for some gorgeous and hip hotels you would definitly want to visit.

5 Gorgeous (and Hip Hotels) in london -

Here are 5 Hotels that are SO GORGEOUS with great vibes and an awesomely hip and beautiful interior (and of course great for the gram).

1. Chiltern Firehouse (Marylebone)- We will for sure stay here next time we come! This hotel is equal parts cool, vibey, aesthetically pleasing from floor to ceiling, and with a great bar and restaurant! We came for dinner one night and LOVED everything. The interiors are full of cool textiles, furniture, gorgeous marble and very hip people, just sayin'. This hotel is the first outpost for hip Hotelier Jose Balazs ( of Chateau Marmont among others). GO.

2. The Marylebone (Marylebone)- This hotel is great for a boutique hotel, tucked away down a quiet but quaint and beautiful side street. The interior from the bar area, lobby (with tons of seating to do work in a beautiful and chic setting), hotel restaurant (108 Brasserie), and Gym and Spa area are amazing. There is marble, crown molding, wood paneling, and gorgeous overstuffed velvet furniture throughout the hotel making it super aesthetically pleasing! One note to mention would be to request a new room as it is newly remodeled, but only half the rooms got the update. The location of this hotel is ideal, smack in the middle of high street, a great shopping area. 

3. Ham Yard Hotel (Soho)- The location of this hip and gorgeously designed hotel is in the middle of Soho, putting you close to everything that you would want to see in London. Everything in central London is convenient to the rest of the city, but this puts you even closer to attractions. The hotels design by Kit Kemp is AHHHMAZING. Everything she touches turns to cool + this hotel has a bowling alley and gorgeous bar. Very fun.

4. Zetter Townhouse- The location of this gorgeous boutique hotel is in Marlyebone, the area we just stayed in and LOVED! The hotel is warm and charming with a fun eclectic feel and a really great interior. I love the bar area, called "Seymours Parlour" at the Marlyebone location (there are two!). So even if youre not staying here, have a drink with a friend to check it out for yourself!

 

5. London Edition- This hotel is just COOL. Super modern, chic, and polished, I loved how the hotel has such character but yet feels modernized. It feels different from just an old school London hotel. It is just beautiful and has a Michelin starred chef in their restaurant as well, so foodies would love this place! You can't go wrong here as its centrally located in Fitzrovia on the edge of Soho. Definiltely worth a visit regardless. 

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I'd love to know which hotels or attractions you love while in London for my next trip. If you have suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

xo, Kim

Ashford Castle

Happy Monday ladies!

Check out my recap of our time at Ashford castle and some recommendations we would suggest to anyone venturing to this gorgeous place!

The first thing we did as soon as we got to the Castle was high tea inside the most gorgeous and ornate room overlooking the lake. The castle has been meticulously preserved and is more beautiful in person than any picture depicts. Some things to note:

-If you stay at the castle, its much more expensive. There is The Lodge at Ashford Castle, which is where we stayed. It's a third of the price and is gorgeous and has a great interior!

-In order to see the castle interior, you need to be a guest staying at the castle or have a reservation for one of the restaurants or for tea. If you plan on walking in for tea without a reservation, know that it most likely won't work out as its very popular! Book in advance!

One of my favorite activities was bike riding around the lush grounds that span over 365 acres. It was so fun to ride around and discover little bridges and creeks and horse stables. There was so much nature all around us and it was so impressive. I really felt like I was in another world. The bikes are complimentary at The Lodge too!

Other things I would have liked to know before we planned our schedules:

-The Castle and The Lodge provide a huge list of activities you can book from and we heard from numerous people that Falconry, clay shooting, the boat ride on the lake, and horse riding were activities we need to book. We did do the boat ride and it was absolutely gorgeous and so enjoyable. When we come back, I will definitely clay shoot, that is something I have always wanted to do! 

- Take morning walks around the grounds to see things more up close and grab a coffee from the cafe near the castle bridge.

- Take a walk into Cong, the village a few minutes by foot from the Castle. Its small and quaint and so cute! I'll be posting a little about Kong and other areas at Ashford in an outfit post later this week. 

Lets talk more about The Lodge:

-Totally different from the castle with a fun color palette and a more modern look. If you stay at The Lodge, you have the same access to the property and grounds. The perks are the same as long as you book reservations at any of the restaurants inside Ashford Castle. I am a sucker for ornate and historical detailing and the castle is a feast for the eyes! I also have a thing for pretty bathrooms and the woman's room on the main level is breathtaking. PURPLE MARBLE PEOPLE. PURPLE! It's so fun!

- From The Lodge, you can walk down to the boathouse to get picked up for the boat ride that happens twice a day for around 25 euros. 

-There are a couple awesome eateries at The Lodge and they are great for casual eats and bar bites.  The rooms are funky and clean and trendy which I love! They are the opposite of the ornate, historical, and traditional vibe of the Castle. If you are wanting the experience of staying on the grounds but don't want to pay so much, The Lodge is the perfect alternative for you. 

Outfit Details

SHOES Robert Clergerie

JEANS Madewell

TOP similar here Madewell

Have a great Tuesday ladies and don't forget to check out my instagram to enter my giveaway with Matiko Shoes! The contest ends July 18th and I will announce the winner on my blog next week! See you in a few days!

xo,Kim

 

 

France Travel Diary Part 2

Hi Ladies! Happy day before the 4th! 

I thought I'd jump right in from where we left off in my France Travel Diary Part 1 where I discussed my time in Cluny and Theoule Sur Mer, so if you haven't read it yet and want a little insight, hop to!

From Theoule Sur Mer in Cannes, we decided to take our time driving to Eze which is about an hour- hour and a half drive to the East. We wanted to take the long way to get a really good idea about the small towns on the way that we didn't spend time in.  We drove through Cannes, Nice, and Antibes and my favorite by far was Antibes. The old part of the city was quaint, charming, and old, which of course, I am a sucker for. Fun fact: I was a History major in college at UCLA and love learning about European  countries!

Old Town Antibes is definitely a place I would love to see more of next time I go to France. I would recommend visiting Antibes for lunch and day time excursions while having a hotel similar to Tiara Yaktsa due to its somewhat remote location and breathtaking views. This part of the city is what you would expect when you think of cute French villages by the water. Colorful and lively with lots of charm due to the historic buildings and streets. 

From Antibes, we ventured to our final French destination, Eze, a famous Medieval village high above the sea overlooking the gorgeous Cote d'Azur! It truly was magical. We stayed at Chèvre d'Or, really the only place I would ever stay in Eze due to its wow factor (that I doubt could be beat elsewhere). The hotel is built into the walls of the village with its pool, bar, grounds, and restaurant accessible only to hotel or restaurant guests. It legitimately was a one of a kind experience that I hope to share with my husband Chay as it is the most romantic hotel!  

This is the gorgeous reception area built within the walls of the village

This is the gorgeous reception area built within the walls of the village

Our view from the outdoor bar and cafe where we had our welcome drinks! Sparkling Rose:)

Our view from the outdoor bar and cafe where we had our welcome drinks! Sparkling Rose:)

The entrance to the restaurant seen from where we were sitting sipping rose. Everything is perfection here!

The entrance to the restaurant seen from where we were sitting sipping rose. Everything is perfection here!

After drinks, we went to our room to change, and then explore the property on our way to the pool. I was giddy and felt like a kid in a candy shop. I was just so taken aback by how stunning and ornate everything was, not to mention meticulously preserved. You have to go! I don't care how, sell a kidney, it's worth it!

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Very excited as you can see here haha. I think this was the best photo where I wasn't flashing the camera, but despite my subdued look, I'm dying on the inside.

Very excited as you can see here haha. I think this was the best photo where I wasn't flashing the camera, but despite my subdued look, I'm dying on the inside.

The greenery and ornate touches everywhere you turn make this hotel a masterpiece!

The greenery and ornate touches everywhere you turn make this hotel a masterpiece!

Views views views!

Views views views!

The hotel property terraces down as far as the eye can see, its incredible!

The hotel property terraces down as far as the eye can see, its incredible!

The gorgeous Italian inspired pool area. I felt like royalty taking a dip!

The gorgeous Italian inspired pool area. I felt like royalty taking a dip!

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After a very relaxing day pool side soaking up the sun and views, we had the hotel make reservations for us in Monaco, which is only a 15 minute drive East.

Things I would suggest:

1. Research places in advance for dinner if you want to venture outside of the hotel. We took a so-so recommendation and didn't mind too much but wish we would have researched ourselves.

2. The hotel restaurant, La Chèvre d'Or is a famous 2 Michelin star restaurant, so if you're a foodie, go! Its pricey but it's a resounding fabulous place to spend at least one night.

3. The hotel is so fabulous, I would try to spend as much time there as possible to get some r and r (if you are only spending a couple days here). Venture to nearby Saint Jean Cap Ferrat or Monaco for brunch, but definitely soak in the beauty while you're paying for it!

4. The village is TINY, so maybe set aside a couple hours to see it and walk the small passage ways but you won't need much longer than that. Sneakers or comfy sandals would be best for this.

5. Monaco was cool but totally not a place I'd spend too much time seeing as I'm not a billionaire or love to gamble. However, it is a sight to see and I would suggest a meal or half day there. I love everything about the French Riviera so wanted to see as much as possible and suggest the same to anyone coming here, as long as it doesn't take away from the quality time you could be having getting to know the areas you most want to spend time in.

More on my trip to come, so keep your eyes peeled for a post on my time at Ashford Castle in Ireland.. Let me know if you have any other recommendations and places to stay, Id love to know!

xo!! Kim

France Travel Diary Part 1

Hi ladies!

As promised, here is my travel diary with what we did in France and recommendations on what to skip and things to see if you ever find yourself heading to wine region or the French Riviera! I decided to break this post into two parts so that you can see enough pictures and get a clear idea of what to do without the post being way too long and overwhelming.

To begin the trip, I flew into Lyon and headed to Cluny, a small village in the French countryside with old cobblestone streets, pastel buildings, shops and patisseries. It always makes me jealous that some people get to live in such inspiring, gorgeous, and historical places that have an authentic and innate charm about them. The drive took about an hour and a half. Things I would recommend:

1. Rent a car if you are outside of a big city like Paris and plan to see multiple regions. Its way easier getting around and you can find great deals on day rates.

2. Research the hotel you stay in to make sure that when it is hot, the AC works really well and the reviews of the hotel are all great. Not that you should be at the hotel hardly at all, but at night in the summer it can get toasty and uncomfortable if there is a weak AC or none at all.  Ours was called Hotel Le Potin Gourmand was great but the AC was a little weak but so cute and had an amazing restaurant as part of the hotel. The breakfast was included in the room and was so delicious.

3. If you are looking to visit and see a small town but also have other more populated areas you are heading to, like the South of France, I would keep the smaller villages to a couple days and move along. They are amazing, but very small and you can see everything in the matter of a couple hours. 

4. Many restaurants and cafes in smaller towns and villages close down at 2 and don't open up again until dinner time, so be sure to get lunch before then and plan accordingly. I skipped lunch one day because we were busy walking around and wine  tasting and was thinking I could get a bite when I got back. I was hungry for hours waiting for something to open!

5. Cluny Abbey is a former Benedictine monastary in Cluny and is gorgeous. Its definitely worth a peek or even just a stroll nearby to check it out. You can't miss it, its huge. Like I said, the town is very small so everything is a short walking distance away.

6.  Make sure to plan a day for wine tasting in the area. It took about 25-30 minutes to drive to Pouilly Fuisse where they are known for their white wine. There are many little regions in this area that you can wine taste in. I would ask my hotel concierge for their personal favorites. I would also highly suggest planning for this and looking up which winery to go to and what time is best for each. We went for fun without doing any research and only found one estate that was open. The wine makers go up into the vineyard at certain times in the day and no one is manning the wine tasting room, or at least we couldn't find anyone. It felt like we were trespassing on their property vs. entering a winery where you felt comfortable walking around. It differs from Santa Barbara, Los Olives, and Napa in that respect. It's not as laid out and obvious for you to know where to go. I wish we would have had a French speaking person with us or had planned to go with a small group or tour. 

It was worth it thought because the town was picturesque and just breathtaking! I'm so glad I got to see it.

There are a few bed and breakfast spots in these towns so it could also be fun to stay there so you could walk to all of the estates and drink to your hearts desire! I would love to do a trip with my family for a couple days in this region! 

From here, we ventured south to The French Riviera. I was most excited for this part! I have always wanted to visit the South of France, and I have to say, it looks like how you would imagine. There are parts that are just breathtaking and by far the areas you would want to spend your time, especially if you have just a few days. I was surprised by a few places I expected to be way better than they were, and pleasantly surprised by other spots that far surpassed my expectations.

We stayed in Theoule Sur Mer, a small seaside village in Cannes that is mostly residential and very relaxed. Its 15 minutes from the main area of Cannes, but also secluded enough to feel like you were getting a genuine South of France experience without all the tourists and crowds. We were told its one of the wealthier areas in the South of France where people live which makes sense as to why it was so manicured and picturesque. The homes on the hillsides overlooking the mediterranean were all gorgeous villas in different pastel colors with columns ornate details. I was in HEAVEN.

This is a view from our hotel, Hotel Tiara Yaktsa Cote d'Azur. I cannot rave about this place enough. It is a small boutique hotel with 20 rooms on a huge property that is terraced featuring an eternity pool, day beds, and the most beautiful restaurant where we ate breakfast every morning overlooking the coast. The staff was the best part however as they truly made it feel like home and took care of EVERYTHING that we needed. From booking day beds at their sister hotel on the beach to making reservations for dinner and lunch in town, they took care of everything and anticipated our needs. I was so impressed! They also upgraded our room to this gorgeous suite with a huge bathroom,sitting area, and french doors leading our to a terrace overlooking that gorgeous view! Here are some images of me around the property. 

As you can see, this hotel and area is absolutely picturesque. Some things I would recommend regarding the French Riviera:

1. Definitely have a car to be able to come and go as you please, explore nearby towns and villages, and be on your own schedule.

2. Do not go over the speed limit even a little bit! We were good here because we had areas been warned, but you will get tickets in the mail from the radar if you speed at all. Those tickets can rack up!

3. Cannes is cute and has high end shops and hotels, but like any popular tourist town, its overcrowded and touristy. I was not overly impressed by the main area of Cannes as it was flat with no views like our hotel had, so it felt similar to a nice California beach town. Of course beautiful and fun, but not overly impressive.  I loved Theoule Sur Mer for this reason! It truly was breathtaking! I would suggest having a hotel in a small village like TSM, and then drive into Cannes for an afternoon to shop and see and be seen (or whatever you wanna do!) . 

5. St. Tropez was not a place we got to go as we didn't have time to see everything, but if I could have, I would have done an entire day there. There is one small road that takes you in and out of town that gets crazy backed up so I would either go early or get a hotel for a couple nights to be camped there. A close friend who has been there a lot said to definitely book a bed at the beach club in advance and visit L'Opera for a late dinner. 

Part two of my France trip will be posted Monday, so stay tuned! Ill be going over our time in Eze and the small towns I will definitely make time for when I go again! If you guys have any recommendations or things to know while in the South of France, post in the comments below! I'd love to know what you think!

xo, Kim

 

 

Roxanne Assoulin on Holiday X Cluny, France

Check out how I wore my Roxanne Assoulin jewelry on my trip to France, with insights, recommendations, and mini travel guide coming soon!

Hello everyone! I just got back from my trip and had the best time in Cluny France, the South of France, Ireland and Paris! It was the trip of a lifetime and I felt so lucky to be able to see such beautiful places with my sister and get to experience so many wonderful moments together. My sister had a work trip in France and I have been wanting to take as many opportunities to travel as possible since my hubby has seen so much and has little time now to get away with work. So, I decided to be adventurous and meet her! I'm so glad I did. I have seen places that I will visit again and again, and also understood more of places that I feel are overrated and not all they are cracked up to be. I'll share that soon!

In this post, I wanted to share about this jewelry brand I am absolutely obsessed with, Roxanne Assoulin. It is my spirit accessory animal. It's pure fun and I love a brand that can be chic and stylish and not take themselves so seriously while at the same time being great quality. The chokers I am wearing are all hand enameled and heavy duty. I love to stack them and create a really unique and funky look. These chokers make any outfit! I wore them throughout my trip and got so many compliments. 

Here I am in Pouilly Fuisse, after wine tasting!

After wine tasting, we headed back to Cluny, a little village that is so quintessential French with cute little apartments and buildings, all in different pastel colors. I am so in love with Europe because of the history and gorgeous character everywhere you look. The dreamy backdrop made for a perfect place to shoot for the blog and showcase this unique and awesome brand. LOVE.

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The village here is so old and picturesque, I loved walking around before dinner and checking out the small streets and courtyards. It's definitely a slow paced town with little excitement, but that's the glory of it all. The simple life is appealing and was definitely a nice respite from the long travel day and busyness of Los Angeles where everyone is trying to "make it". There is so much pressure to be something, and be busy, all the time. It was refreshing to come here and see people sit for hours, not check their phones, and be immersed in good conversation with friends. I am guilty of getting caught up in the hustle and desire to be more "successful", so found this to be a magical place to start my trip.

I loved wearing my Roxanne Assoulin pieces throughout my trip, they made every outfit feel special and unique. Check out the pieces below and click on them if you want to purchase, I definitely want to add to my new collection. Im obsessed with it all! 

More posts coming over the next couple weeks about my looks throughout the trip as well as a sort of travel diary and guide. Missed you guys! 

XO, Kim

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