Monthly Archives: August 2010

Great Hotels: Boutique and Funky

We’re concluding today’s spotlight on great hotels by bringing you a few options with a bit more pep. These boutique hotels are much smaller, more personal, and have a little bit more jive, if you know what I mean. Here’s what Katie’s found for us in the way of unique resorts:

Jake’s Hotel in Treasure Beach, Jamaica

Adorable. Charming. Inviting. No words can quite capture Jake’s Hotel in Treasure Beach. It is located on the quieter Southern side of Jamaica. Their mantra is “Eat what you grow, grow what you eat” and they do just that. Enjoy Jamaican food with plenty of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. And don’t miss the Rum Punch at Dougie’s Bar!

Stay in the Honeymoon Suite which has a upstairs patio with a daybed, lounging area and dining area, all right above the ocean.

For dining, Carrie recommends:

When it comes to local lusciousness, Jake’s has it “growing” on! Located in the parish of St. Elizabeth the surrounding area is known for its fruit, vegetable and cattle farms as well as its sustainable fishing community. Committed to the mantra, “Eat what you grow, grow what you eat.” The hotel’s menu changes daily and reflects the seasonal selections of Jamaica’s southern coast.

With so many options to choose from, I asked the Executive Chef to pick his personal favorite:

Ackee & Saltfish for Breakfast – Considered to be Jamaica’s “national dish” it is unlike anything many people have ever tried before. When cooked, the ackee (fruit) develops a consistency comparable to that of a scrambled egg. It is then mixed with saltfish to provide a salty, yet sweet flavor combination. The taste, texture and flavor are each an experience in themselves. A delicious way to start the day!


Tabacon Grand Spa and Thermal Resort, Costa Rica

Tabacon Grand Spa and Thermal Resort is located at the base of Arenal Volcano. It has an award winning spa in the heart of the thermal springs. They have amazing treatments such as Hot Stone Massage with Lemon and Rosemary Oils, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Thai Massage, Mud Body Wrap, Body Scrubs, Hydrotherapy, and skin care treatments and therapy.

The Honeymoon Suite features a handcrafted canopy king bed and a private deck with Jacuzzi surrounded by tropical plants and view of the garden.

Carrie offers up some information about what the Tabacon kitchen offers:

Although a honeymoon often signifies reckless abandon when it comes to R & R, some couples choose to use it as a time to truly “detox” from the stress ensued during the final weeks of matrimonial madness. Tabacon’s natural surroundings & spa cater to an overall sense of rejuvenation but so does their healthy cuisine. From the option of having Ayurvedic meals — a philosophy that infuses the five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth — to indigenous Tandoori dishes that will cleanse your palate of impurities (and possibly the memories of your drunk uncle dancing at the reception) as you healthfully begin your new life as husband & wife. P.S. Don’t worry if stuffing your face (and raiding the mini-bar) is what you truly desire–they also offer a 4-course Gala Dinner that is world-renowned.

Room Mate Lola in Malaga, Spain

Malaga is a great Spanish town located right on the Mediterranean. It is a very exciting, vibrant city offering great culture, culinary exploits, with plenty of both fun and sun!

When visiting Malaga, make Room Mate Lola your home. From the second you see it from the street, you can see that Room Mate Lola is different than your average hotel.

For you foodies, of course you’d know that Spain is an epicenter for culinary innovation and gastronomy. No matter where your hunt for good eats leads you, your destined to be pleased with all that Spain has to offer. Carrie’s suggestion, which I love, is a Spanish mainstay that you really can’t miss:

Two words I could love more than my husband (when I have one!) = CHOCOLATE CHURROS. When in Málaga run, do not walk, to Casa Aranda. Situated in a narrow street in the heart of the city the town’s sweetest institution has been open since 1932 serving the country’s popular pastry. The hot chocolate served on the side is not for drinking, it’s for dipping! You’ve vowed to share your life together but I’d make an exception when it comes to your churros.

Churro image by Cannelle et Vanille

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Great Hotels: Designer Destination

Our second feature today focuses on hotels that are destinations in and of themselves, simply for their impeccable design. My jaw hit the floor when I saw some of these gorgeous places, so get ready. Here’s what Katie’s found for us…

There are a lot of amazing hotels out there these days, but every so often, a resort comes along with such impeccable design, they can’t help but stand. The next hotels are three of my favorites that are invariably head and shoulders above the rest.

Amanyara, Turks & Caicos

This resort has a lot of glass and wood, giving it a very open and bright feeling. There are a lot of great activities including amazing reefs right offshore for snorkeling or scuba diving. There is an infinity pool and private beach, all of which adds up to complete privacy, luxury and relaxation.

My favorite room is the Pavillion Room, which has 3 outdoor terraces, including a sundeck with daybeds.

Carrie (from Citineraries) suggests these dinning options:

Epicurean elegance is indigenous to the islands of Turks & Caicos where most of the dining delights are found at the surrounding hotels. Options range from barefoot grilling to haute cuisine. Visiting lovebirds should indulge in: the nightly changing Asian & Mediterranean influenced menus of Amanyara, the island outpost of New York’s famed Bagatelle Bistro in the Gansevoort (enjoy the meal on your own private floating island in their signature pool!) or European-Caribbean gastronomy at adults-only Grace Bay Club.

Bagatelle Bistro

Grace Bay Club

Our next great hotel, designer edition, is La Minervetta, Sorrento, Italy

When planning honeymoons, I often run into a very common man versus woman predicament: he considers a vacation to be filled with sightseeing, history and culture, and she just wants to relax on a gorgeous beach. I’m always on the hunt for locations that offer both options for these types of couples. At the top of my list is Sorrento, Italy–a location that offers it all. Located in the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is a great town, with a gorgeous beach and perfect base to explore the rest of the region.

While visiting Sorrento, stay at the gorgeous La Minervetta Hotel. There is a pool and terrace built into the Cliffside which is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast or a glass of wine after taking a ferry out to Capri for the day. The hotel has just 12 rooms, all gorgeously designed and all with great views of the town.

For culinary diversions, Carrie suggests:

The scrumptiousness of Sorrento speaks for itself – the peninsula is as famous for pizza as Naples – and be sure to take time to savor the birthplace of Limoncello. The luscious liqueur is absolutely best here when it is made from the famously huge Amalfi Coast lemons. When exploring the coast’s palazzos and piazzas you will see lemon syrups, lemon iced delights, lemon curd, lemon pie, lemon pudding, lemon biscotti, lemon cake…

Of course what would a trip to Italy be without vino. Two highly recommended wineries nearby in Campania:

Feudi di San Gregori: Wonderful whites and a famous red named Serpico

Mastroberardino: Traditional whites and a fantastic red named Taurasi

Aleenta Resort and Spa, Pranburi, Thailand

For something a little different and off the beaten path, check out the Aleenta Resort located three hours south of Bangkok in Thailand. Between the hammocks, outdoor showers, thatched roofs, private plunge pools, and balconies overlooking the water, it is perfectly romantic.

My favorite room? The Palm Pool Suite which sits directly on the beach, has a private plunge pool, and of course incredible ocean views:

For dining, Carrie suggests the following:

At this small award-winning boutique property be prepared for larger than life dining experiences on the shimmering gold sands and under the twinkling stars.

Onsite modern Thai and International cuisine is created from the freshest ingredients of land & sea. Savory options include:

Simply Thai – A four-course set menu where you sample all the basic ingredients and stand-out dishes of a traditional Thai kitchen: chicken served in a banana leaf, Tom Yam Goong spicy seafood soup and Thai sticky rice served with mango and topped with coconut milk.

Sand Haven – A seafood BBQ feast of fish, squid, mussels and tiger prawns, a selection of grilled vegetables, Thai coconut fragrant rice and a sweet ending of exotic fruit skewers.

Thai Confusion – An elegant Thai affair featuring chicken satay with peanut sauce, Thai style beef salad, Thai green mango salad, tiger prawns with Thai herbs, Thai green chicken curry, and topped off with pumpkin in warm coconut milk.

If you love all of the above you can take it to go — cooking classes are a featured resort offering! Chef Rose will teach you the skills you need to cook some of Asia’s most fascinating dishes so you can show off your newfound Thai talents upon returning home.

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Great Hotels: All Inclusive

Today for honeymoon week we’re doing a spotlight on great hotels. Our first post features all inclusive resorts that are quite a bit beyond what you might find at a typical Sandals resort. Here’s Katie’s guide for redefining all inclusive. The phrase “all inclusive resort” typically refers to mega resorts with big buffets, cheesy nightly entertainment, and the necessity to wake up at the crack of dawn to claim a pool chair. But lately, a new type of all inclusive hotel has been cropping up–a resort that is luxury, stylish, boutique and all-inclusive with excellent food and incredible service. I’ve chosen three of my favorites to highlight today.

Coco’s Hotel in Antigua

This hotel has just 26 individual cottages, and all of them have a balcony with an outdoor shower and a hammock. The cottages are up on a hill overlooking the water, and there are amazing private beaches on either side.

Carrie’s dining suggestion:

Dining options at an all-Inclusive often offer a Honeymoon-Exclusive! Coco’s caters to couples with a Champagne Dinner in their signature sea-view restaurant – or if you prefer to pop your bubbly privately they’ll let you swap for a Breakfast-In-Bed. You can also up the ante of the Antigua ambiance by asking the property to arrange a private dinner on their beautiful beach ($120/couple).

The Caves in Jamaica

The Caves in Negril, Jamaica has just 10 private villas on a cliff. The villas are made mostly of wood and stone and each has an ocean view. The hillsides feature caves and grottos where you can even have a private dinner!

Carrie’s dining suggestion:

The resort’s namesake is a necessity when it comes to the ultimate romantic dining rendezvous. Reserve one of the private caves for dinner and it will be strewn with bougainvillea petals, lit by candlelight, and transformed into a scrumptious love shack. Don’t forget to toast with a signature cocktail, The Cliffhanger (freshly squeezed watermelon juice, a hint of ginger, and of course…Appleton Gold Jamaica Rum) is liquid irie.

Zoetry Casa del Mar in Los Cabos, Mexico

Zoetry Casa del Mar has just 42 suites and all of them feature ocean views. It has authentic Mexican hacienda architecture and gourmet dining options including a restaurant right on the beach.

Carrie’s dining suggestion:

It will take a lot to allure you away from the Sea of Cortez, but willingly surrender for a short-drive to the world-famous Edith’s restaurant at Medano Beach. With a stunning view of the world famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas, an intimate lantern-lit terrace, world-class Mexican wine cellar, and the very best of local Baja cuisine, experiencing Edith’s is hands-down a honeymoon must!

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Unique Destinations: Tahiti

Our second unique destination today is Tahiti. Yes…lots of honeymooners have made their way to these exotic islands, however, Katie has found a way to make a visit to the Tahitian Islands a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip PERFECT for honeymooners.  Check out what she thinks might make for an unforgettable experience…

It is no secret that the Tahitian Islands are a popular honeymoon destination.  Tahiti boasts gorgeous resorts, over-water bungalows, and breathtaking beaches.  However, this isn’t the only way to visit Tahiti.  One of the more adventurous and unique options for exploring Tahiti is to charter a private sailboat.

The boats have a captain and a personal chef on board that cooks customized meals for you.  Breakfast in bed, picnic lunch on the beach, cocktails at sunset…it’s all up to you! How amazing is that?

There are so many things that make chartering a sailboat an amazing experience, but quite possibly the best part is that you set your own agenda. You can choose to visit private islands and secluded beach coves, or coastal villages dotted along the coast.  So you can see as many or as few people as you would like. Talk about privacy!

All charters start on the island of Raiatea, and then you can visit the islands of Huahini, Bora Bora, Taha’a, and many smaller islands in between. The crew always has great suggestions for secluded beaches (only accessible by private boat), amazing hikes, the best snorkeling, and whatever other activity suits your fancy. After a day of shopping and a night of partying, the crew can sail you off to a private cove for the two of you to relax and get away. Usually your agenda is set the night before over cocktails. How amazing does that sound?

You can contact Katie to find out more about chartering a private yacht, or click here for some additional information!

Culinary Concierge, Carrie, suggests two great places to dine at when in Bora Bora (Tahiti).

BLOODY MARY’S

A casual (barefoot) alternative to the Island’s French fusion fare, this is fresh fish at its finest. Your seafood selection from the daily catch is made to order and the service is Polynesian perfection.

VILLA MAHANA

5 Tables. 1 Chef. 1 Waiter.

Reservations must be made two-months in advance for Chef Damien Rinaldi Dovioo’s French cuisine that is combined with Asian and Tropical flavors to compliment its romantic Mediterranean ambiance. Often described by brides & grooms as the most memorable meal of their ‘moon.

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Hitched: Sneak Peek

Hitched is right around the corner, which means if you haven’t bought your ticket yet, you best hurry on over and make sure you do! Today, I wanted to share a little peak at one of the fabulous boutiques that will be providing a few dresses for our fashion show.

Please meet Tavin:

Tavin will help us showcase gowns for you vintage inspired brides out there. In addition to Tavin, we’ve got another designer up our sleeves who, if fate aligns, will actually be in attendance at our event. But I’ll not count my eggs before they’ve hatched. So I’ll just whet your whistle with this:

This of course is just a teaser, but I guarantee, you’ll definitely want to be in attendance!

More honeymoon week coming later today!

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Unique Destination: Croatia

I’m SO excited to have honeymoon week here on Grey Likes Weddings. I’ve brought in an expert–Katie of Ever After Honeymoons–to make sure I show you some of the best ideas we could possibly think up. We’re going a little out of the Hawaii box…and though I love Hawaii, I thought we’d feature some great places that you haven’t heard or thought of yet. I also know that if your man is planning the honeymoon, you may need to email him some links this week. Speaking of planning, Katie’s unique travel service is actually free of charge. Believe it or not, planning your honeymoon with a personal travel agent can be fairly close to the same price as online discount websites. Only Katie offers personal attention…Has Expedia ever called your hotel to get you an upgrade on behalf of your honeymoon?

Today’s focus is on unique destinations and we’re starting off with Croatia. In addition to some killer hotels, Katie will also bring you some restaurant recommendations from a culinary concierge. Be sure to check back later today. I’ve got a sneak peek of our Hitched alternative fashion show as well as another really great unique destination from Katie.

Please give Katie a warm welcome!

I’m so thrilled to be sharing some really great honeymoon destinations this week! For today’s focus, I wanted to share with you a few destinations that are very out-of-the-box, yet absolutely perfect for a honeymoon! This brings us to Croatia. When people think of a romantic European beach honeymoon, Croatia isn’t the first country that comes to mind.  But with the 3,600 miles of beach and more than 1,100 islands, it makes an incredible honeymoon destination.

First up, here are a few great images of the area.

While I wouldn’t recommend renting a car in most European countries, I do in Croatia.  Public transportation isn’t as developed as in many other European countries, so having a car is the best way to explore the country.

Here’s what I would recommend for the ideal trip. Start your honeymoon in Zagreb.  Live like King and Queens at the Regent Esplanade Hotel which was built in the 1920’s and has kept the original look to it, while still adding some modern luxuries.

Then visit Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is an inland forest, filled with waterfalls and turquoise lakes.

From there, drive south to Split and then take a ferry out to the island of Hvar. Stay at the super swanky Adriana Hotel.  With the sleek modern design, spa and rooftop pool deck, this is the perfect base for your time in Hvar.

Take the ferry back to Split, and then take the scenic drive along to coast to Dubrovnik.  Stay at the Radisson Blu Resort, which is perched over the water, and a perfect place to end your Croatian Honeymoon.

For restaurant recommendations, welcome Carrie from Citineraries!

Citineraries is a Culinary Concierge and Epicurean Experiences company based in Los Angeles. Founder & Foodie Carrie Jablonow designs and dishes out appetite advice and gourmet goodies for individuals, families and corporations. Carrie ensures her clients priorities & preferences are expertly reserved & perfectly served by the world’s Top Chefs. For further information contact: citineraries@gmail.com

Regent Esplanade is home to four outstanding restaurants. Enjoy a fabulous view of the Fountain Park from Zinfandel’s, sample a regional pastry Esplanade Struckli in Le Bistro or dine al fresco on the Oleander Terrace. No need to leave the palatial property to treat your taste-buds.


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Grey Likes Honeymoons

I am really excited to announce that come Monday, we’re having Honeymoon Week here on Grey Likes. You have no idea how much you’re going to flip when you see the variety of ideas that we’re featuring. I’m bringing in guest blogger Katie Frederick from Ever After Honeymoons and I guarantee you–at the very least– come Friday, you’ll feel like you’ve been on vacation, even if you haven’t left your office. Get excited folks…It’s going to be fabulous!

Hopefully these images from Mikkel Vang will get you pumped.

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DIY: Olive Hue Paper

Jane Jeon from Olive Hue Paper Goods is a total love. First off, she’s crazy talented. Second, she’s gone and created a custom download just for Grey Likes readers! We have some really lovely labels (bottom left) and favor tags (top right) for you to download, print and customize! Both come with various colors and I think they are so cute!

Here’s a peek at them, along with a little accompanying inspiration:

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

You can check out more of Jane’s work here! Special thanks to her for designing such a GREAT template for us! I hope you enjoy!

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Real Wedding: Aubrie and Aaron

Jeff Wallace sent over these images and I’m really loving all the muted brights! The country farm feel is also so welcoming and homey. It feels really personal, which I totally love! Hope you enjoy!

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31 Bits Does Fall

This past year, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of styling for 31 Bits–they are a really inspiring company and every time they call me in for a shoot, I’m always thrilled. Of course, their photographer Trever Hoehne is perfection. Literally. He makes everything look insane. That said, I wanted to share just a few images with you from their Fall Look Book. Though it’s not a wedding, I thought it’d be fun to tell you a little about what goes in to styling a commercial shoot like this.

When you have a particular product you’re working on featuring, I’ve found it’s important to style a wardrobe that is both unique, textural, layered and interesting, yet at the service of the jewelery. We want there to be enough contrast so that the beads pop, but not so much that you don’t notice the beads. Our wardrobe needed to convey a more sophisticated Fall look while still subscribing to the West Coast spirit that epitomize 31 Bits. Anyhow, here’s a little peek at some of the commercial work I’ve been up to. I hope you enjoy!

We’ll get back to the regularly scheduled programming later today… I’ve got a sweet little real wedding for you this afternoon!

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