Archive for the Websites Category

Bon Appetit Hot 10:Culinary Country Inns

Posted in Hotels, Travel Reference, Websites with tags , on November 11, 2008 by travelwizard

In the November issueof Bon Appetite, there is a great article on ten country inn’s specializing in gourmet cooking. Click below to read. There are some great places on the list and I felt it was worth circulating:


Room Service Vacation Homes

Posted in Hotels, Uncategorized, Websites with tags , on November 9, 2008 by travelwizard


I have always been a fan of mid-century modern furniture. My house is filled with pieces I have purchased over the years. Sadly, getting a piece of good quality mid-century modern furniture can be quite pricey. In my quest to bring my costs down, I went on the hunt for a great store that specializes in mid-century inspired furnishings along with replications of pieces from that era. That place is a store in LA called Room Service.

Owners John and Taryn Bernard design most of the furniture themselves and most of the pieces can be customized. I have shopped there for years and have always been satisfied. I was delighted to find that in addition to being a furniture store, they also own and operate five vacation properties in the Los Angeles and Palm Spring area. Each properties is different, but their design is rooted in classic mid-century modern style. All of the furnishings are provided by Room Service. These homes are funky, retro, luxurious and just down-right cool. Their one LA property is located in the Hollywood Hills, and it is appropriately titled  “The Pad”.  It features views of the Hollywood sign, three king bedrooms, flat screen TVs, a Bose sound-system and Sub-Zero appliances. It is a perfect place to throw a private party or spend a week relaxing.

Casa Verona, The White House, The Pink Door, The Lodge and The Park complete their collection and these are all located in Palm Springs. In two weeks I will be heading to Casa Verona for the weekend (more on that when I return) and I am really excited about it. I have to say, for the how cool and well-appointed these places are, they are really well-priced. All the Palm Springs locations are three and four bedrooms and feature pools and spa’s, BBQ’s Fireplaces and more just generally awesome stuff. Prices vary by house but winter rates go for about 3,000 per week and summer rates drop down a but from there. Unfortunately, I am unable to grab pics off their website to show you just how great these homes really are but click here and you will be taken to their website with a full photo gallery of each property. Prepare to be transported to another place and time.

I Heart NY

Posted in Hotels, Websites with tags , , , on October 4, 2008 by travelwizard

I have been fortunate to be able to travel to NYC for business extensively over the years and as of late, I have come to the following, rather depressing conclusion; New York is becoming unaffordable. I am not exactly sure when this happened but all I know is year after year, I have to check more and more hotels off my list because the rates have soared to over 400 dollars a night. Stylish, well-located hotels like Hotel on Rivington, The Gansevoort and The Maritime which used to be my mainstays are now a distant memory. Because of this, I have had to use a little more ingenuity when trying to secure accommodation.

There are a couple of ways to find an affordable stay. One thing that has worked in my favor over the years is that NYC is a city that is constantly developing and opening new hotels. If you can stay on top of the ones that are recently opened or have had their ” soft” opening, you can always get a pretty good rate. (the website Hotel Chatter is helpful for this sort of thing)This is what I am doing in a couple of weeks when I stay at Thompson LES (sister hotel of 60 Thompson and The Roosevelt in LA). The upside is that you get to stay in a new, stylish hotel that in six months you won’t  be able to afford. The  downside is you may have to suffer through some hotel growing pains. It’s a gamble, but I generally find it worth the risk. Another option I have leaned towards is ditching the hotel altogether and renting an apartment.

I have come across a great company that provides well-priced apartments for short term rentals. By short term, I mean from a week to several months. They are called Plan 212 and their stated goal is to “allow traveler to experience New York City living at it’s best”. The company owns and operates ten apartments around Manhattan ranging from singles to two bedrooms. Decor-wise, they are nothing overly fancy, but they are comfortable and clean and most importantly, well-located. They are spread out enough to ensure that there is something for everyone in all parts of the city.  I dealt with them this year to secure an apartment and it was a totally seamless experience. You can see more on their website, but here are a few snaps to give you an idea about the apartments:

For more info, check out their website or email them at

If this doesn’t work out, a good standby is the website VRBO. It stands for Vacation Rental By Owner and they have a whole host of apartments and houses not only in Manhattan, but in destinations all over the United States. I rented my house for the Sundance Film Festival through VRBO and it worked like a charm!

I will have more on my stay at Thompson LES when I come back in a couple of weeks!

Livin La Vida Local

Posted in Websites with tags , , on August 8, 2008 by travelwizard

What if you could go on a vacation and magically know your destination as well as you know your own neighborhood? Imagine knowing the best spot to dine on local cuisine or the best hole in the wall drinking spot almost immediately upon arrival? Well, thanks to a website called like Live Like a Local, now you can!

My friend Adam turned me on to the site and it is pretty cool. It allows you to find apartments in cities all around Europe and the US and if you so desire, you can hook up with a local (hence, live like a local) who will treat you to a variety of authentic experiences. There are lots of scenarios to choose from and they range from things like a home-cooked meal in a person’s home to a walking tour of the best local eateries the city has to offer. The NY Times recently mentioned them in their travel series 36 hours in…(fill in amazing city here). You can view that here. 

Finding the right places to dine, drink and shop can make or break a trip for me. If you have no desire to put any research into your destination or you are not a travel nerd like myself, then Live Like Local is a great way to experience the best parts of any city.