Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Faru Faru Lodge + Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

And now, more from the Singita Game Reserves.  This hotel, the Faru Faru Lodge, and the one below, Sabora Tented Camp, are both in Tanzania and both are so ridiculously gorgeous, I don't know what to do with myself.

I once met a Kenyan man who joked about the touristic aftermath of Out of Africa on East Africa.  In the mid-to-late 1980's, if you were to go to the airport in Nairobi or Dar Es Salaam, you'd see packs of Meryl Streep look-alikes in wide-brimmed woven hats and cream-colored linen suits descending from airplanes.

It's very easy to mock these people - individuals caught up in a romantic, idealized vision of Colonial East Africa, totally disconnected from the people and reality of the present-day countries - but when I look at these photos, especially the Sabora Tented Camp, I completely understand, albeit shamefully, the draw of this fantasy. 


Monday, August 29, 2011

Singita Boulders Lodge, South Africa

I learned about the Singita Game Reserves from my friend Kellie who went to South Africa for her honeymoon.  What has come to my attention since starting this blog a few months ago is that there are far more jaw-dropping, spectacular hotels in sub-Saharan Africa than I could have ever imagined. 

(It's a bit hard to avoid the fact that the continent with the most extreme rates of poverty, disease, and underdevelopment is also the one with the most excessively priced luxury hotels.  I don't really think it's a coincidence, but this is obviously not the forum to discuss the lingering impact of colonialism on distribution of wealth.  This is an aspirational/inspirational hotel blog, so let's just all agree to acknowledge that only a miniscule percentage of the people who live on this continent, or any continent really, could ever afford to stay here, and then carry on with the indulgence.)    

The Singita Boulders Lodge in the northeast of South Africa is one of the many lodges owned by Singita Game Reserves.  They have a number of hotels in South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and each one will blow your mind.  Each hotel has a seemingly effortless ability to connect indoor and outdoor space.  Beyond that, the design choices - the animal skin rugs and the natural materials in structure, furniture and art  - all work to create a space that is undeniably local, not at all kitschy, and absolutely dream-like.  Just look closely at the bathroom details in the photo below. 

I might just decide that this is Africa Week at Let's Stay Here so I can post 100 more photos of incredible Singita hotels.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Atacama Oasis, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

This cool hotel, Atacama Oasis, is in the tourist destination of San Pedro de Atacama in the northeast of Chile, right near the Bolivian border.  In my California/Middle East-centric worldview it's hard not to find comparisons with Jordan (The Dead Sea and Petra) and Southern California (Death Valley and Joshua Tree) but there is something distinct about this place.  For one, the altitude is much higher, but also there are volcanoes, and most importantly, llamas!  God bless South America and their awesome llamas.

This hotel seems to maintain a very strong sense of place without compromising much on the luxury front.  Probably harder to do than it seems.  Thank you Boutique Homes for the photos.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Domaine De Murtoli, Corsica, France

In general, when I hear the phrase "French Country" in reference to design style, my mind just completely checks out. Those words always evoke images of the bad cabinets and tacky linens in the Orange County tract homes of my youth.

That is, until this place came along! Domaine De Murtoli is a French villa that is arguably more rustic than country. And, if we're getting technical, it's on the island of Corsica, so obviously it's not going to have typical Provençal country style. But wouldn't it be nice if we all just agreed that "French Country" actually looked something like this?

The beautiful photos are from the website boutique-homes.com, which is where you can also book this place for super cheap.  (Just kidding!)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Camp Wildwood, Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles

Dear Universe,

Please send me a check for $8,000,000 so I can buy this newly listed real estate property and turn it into the most incredible Los Angeles resort ever.

It's 13 acres of dreamy California coastal mountain summer camp built in 1923 with an Olympic size pool and cute little bungalows. And listen to this, Universe. It's already zoned for resort usage so there really shouldn't be anything stopping you.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

La Quinta Troppo, Zihuatenejo, Mexico

Remember my irrational sense of ownership over the entire country of Peru?  Well, don't even get me started about Mexico.  I basically run the place.  The big difference is that I've actually been to Mexico.  Like, many times.

I've been known to say that I come from a long line of Jews who like to appropriate other people's cultures.  Kind friends have often referred to me as an honorary Arab or honorary Indian to make me feel like part of their club.  But it doesn't start with me.  My great grandfather, a Russian immigrant to Los Angeles, ran a dairy farm in Covina.  It was no surprise that my grandmother, who grew up with Spanish-speaking farm-hands, sought out a Master's Degree in Spanish from the University of Chicago.  (A young woman getting a graduate degree in 1940?  Yup, total bad ass.)

And my father, who only consumed novels in Spanish, read La Opinión regularly, and had us going out for Mexican food at least 3 times a week, famously drove 3 hours across Nebraska to eat at Taco Bell, the only "Mexican food" in the state when he was getting his dental degree there in the 1960's.  And it goes on.  My sister jokes that we went from mother's milk to refried beans and my chef brother is contemplating opening a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco.  We're not Mexican, I know, but sometimes it really feels like we are.

This hotel, La Quinta Troppo, in the state of Guerrero, reminds me of vacations we took as a family to Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta.  I love Mexico's Pacific Coast and it has been on my list for a long time to visit Zihuatenejo.  Thank you Welcome Beyond for the lovely photos.