Lunch at the Beautiful Chiltern Firehouse – London

Chiltern Firehouse London Hotel

Chiltern Firehouse, once the Marylebone Fire Station built in 1889, has been transformed into a luxury hotel and restaurant by André Balazs (The Mercer, Chateau Marmont) and is favored by celebs and posh Londoners.

The proper doorman will guide you past the gates, through the patio and  into the plush dining room with red leather booths, cream and red patterned fabric ceiling and bustling wait staff attending to all of the beautiful people’s needs.

Go for the scene and drinks. For food, breakfast or lunch is your best bet price-wise – sit at the bar along side the kitchen to see all of the action.

Peek inside:

My favorite part of lunch: Dark Chocolate Tart with clementines and whipped ricotta.

Chiltern Firehouse London Dark Chocolate Tarte

Rest of lunch:

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Stained Glass Dome in La Rotonda – Madrid, Spain

Stained Glass Dome in La Rotonda - Madrid, Spain

Beautiful light flows through the elegant stained glass dome at La Rotonda restaurant in the Westin Palace hotel in Madrid Spain. Known for their Sunday Opera Brunch it’s also a great spot to stop by for tea, enjoy the decor and people watching.

The mannequin with the vintage suitcases was part of the 100 Years Traveling Together  exhibit.  Historical pieces from Samsonite gave a glimpse into how travel evolved from 1912 through the decades.

48 Hours in Louisville – City Guide to Sites, Dining, Shopping and More

Welcome To Kentucky

Louisville is a five-hour drive from Chicago but a world away, full of Bourbon, Kentucky Fried Chicken, horses and changing neighborhoods. Here are must-do activities to experience some of the best food, drink, shopping and sites of Louisville in a short amount of time.

Day 1 – Morning: From the Marriott Louisville Downtown head to Market Street to get to NuLu, also known as East Market District. This neighborhood is rapidly changing, a.k.a getting hipsterfied, and is a mix of industrial companies, restaurants, shops and galleries.  My prediction: in five years it will be over-saturated with shops and chains, however, now it has a great vibe with interesting art and people.

Grab a coffee and pastry at Please & Thank You. Sit outside to people watch or stay inside and pick out some vinyl from the record store in the back. Then Continue reading

Must-Stay Hotel: Cotton House in Barcelona, Spain

The unassuming entrance gives no hint to the gorgeous history meets modern design behind the giant carved wood doors in the Cotton House, a luxury 83 room boutique hotel in the heart of Barcelona. Built in 1879 for a Spanish family before being sold to the Cotton Textile Foundation, the first two floors retain their original design and are full of color and ornate detail. From the giant wall of framed mirrors that meets the marble floor of the reception, the calming effect of dining among the dozens of cotton bolts in different white hues in the Batuar restaurant to the rooftop pool and my personal favorite, the suspended spiral staircase – the Cotton House is one of the most beautiful and visually interesting hotels in Barcelona.

I arrived at 9:30am with no expectation of checking in but simply to store my luggage while I spent the day touring. However, between being offered bites of the chocolate-covered strawberries, the staff apologized for not having the room ready and offered to upgrade the room.

There are eight room grades and I ended up getting upgraded twice to the Cotton Room level complete with a balcony facing the terrace, king-size bed and huge walk-in shower and full bathtub. In contrast to the colorful opulence of the public areas the hotel room is elegantly simple with warm white tones covering the room, soft white leather chairs and headboard, impossibly soft bedding and backlit drawings of cotton that line the wall giving the room a warm feel.

You can sneak a peek here:

Continue reading

Spiral Staircase – Cotton House Hotel, Barcelona Spain

Cotton House Hotel Barcelona Staircase 1

The only hotel I took the stairs instead of the elevator every day. It was a joy winding my way around and looking up at the beautiful yellow globes of light that changed with the sun.

The staircase in the Cotton House Hotel is protected by the city of Barcelona as a historical architectural feat. Built in the 1960s it’s the first of its kind –  a hanging spiral staircase suspended by cables.