Travel Design Tips & Inspiration

Just Back From: St. Barths

Caribbean, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Saint Barth's

Jan
24
2018

January 2018

I am so thrilled to be able to tell you that despite the devastating winds of Hurricane Irma, the beloved isle of St. Barths is alive and well – thriving even, in shockingly green glory. It was such a joy to land and see how much the island has recovered from those hideous pictures post storm. Praise the fertile temperatures of the Caribbean. It was also a sincere pleasure to be down there and appreciate the beauty of the island in a way I had never before. My weekend was filled with early morning hikes through the woods and even hunting using the best used compound bows for sale, also yoga followed by afternoons lazing by the beach with personalized picnics to boot.  It was truly heaven.

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The views from Petite Saline

 

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Hiking at Le Toiny with the lovely Aminata

 

Of course, it’s not all roses. The damage is still evident, particularly near Pelican Beach, Grand Cul-de-Sac and behind Le Toiny, and the majority of the five-star hotel properties are shuttered until the end of the year with the exception of Hotel Christopher and Villa Marie opening in late February and early March. Some of my favorite restaurants (Maya’s, Bonito) remain closed though I finally went to Blue Ginger this year and wow. Yum. In good news, the villa product remains stronger than ever, the people are as upbeat and charming as always and the operating businesses are showcasing their innovative and service-oriented characters to the n’th degree – particularly Eden Rock Villas, whose pop up beach club (photo below) is a marvel, executed flawlessly, and WIMCO, whose catered beach picnic set up at the beach of your choosing (also pictured below) was a true highlight of my weekend.

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Eden Rock’s Popup Beach Club on Lorient Beach

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WIMCO Beach Picnic at Gouveneur Beach

Given the predominance of villas for this next year, I was able to tour a few spectacular ones with the affable and knowledgable, Guillaume of WIMCO. He took me to three top villas distinguished by their views, design and setting. Below is the view from the appropriately named, VILLA VUE. To say that setting on that deck is nothing short of vacation perfection is merely stating the obvious.  For more details on specific villas, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am so happy to be able to confidently promote the island and help aid in its recovery with the support of tourism.

The view at Villa VUE

The view at Villa VUE

 

 

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Hard not to have a big grin when you’re in St. Barths, and at Eden Rock Pop Up Beach Club to boot!

 

 

Posted in: Caribbean, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Saint Barth's

Published by Meg, Wednesday, January 24, 2018 No Comments

Just Back From: Malliouhana in Anguilla

Beach, Caribbean, Hotel Reviews

Apr
08
2015

February 2015

Anguilla

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Following a 3 year closure and 18-month renovation, the beloved Malliouhana on Anguilla is back, and now managed by the prestigious Auberge Hotels Group. Redressed and gussied up in turquoise, shimmering accents and bright yellow frills (the pool umbrellas are indeed,frilly) the mod redo has made the hotel every bit as alluring as the glorious white sand beach and crystalline water it overlooks.

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A large nod must go to interior designer, Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL Studio, for transforming a tired property into one that simply gleams. The mid-century, Palm Beach-esque furnishings lend a cheerful vibe to the entire resort, while maintaining a high quotient of glamour.

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Lenahan drew his inspiration from the photography of Slim Aarons, a beloved shutterbug of the rich and celebrated, who often photographed his subjects either poolside or on vacation in some of the world’s most iconic spots. A wise source indeed, as Anguilla’s heyday was during the same years of Aaron’s work’s heyday, thus the design also conjures the island’s most glamourous time in history. And clearly, the look carries timeless appeal.

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Cool fact: the wall mirror pictured here actually hides a television screen inside.

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What struck me most was how the simple addition of paint, mind-you in attractively chosen color schemes with charming application techniques – note the stripes painted on the walls in the guest rooms, made a world of difference to the concrete (hurricane-proof) walls. Instantly the mood was lifted. Pair this with palm-frond embellished furnishings, and iconic fabric prints (such as the black and white striped pool cabanas) and the senses were pleasantly satiated into a Caribbean state of mind. Of course, it helps that the views are expansive and nothing but sea on the horizon, and that the complimentary poolside smoothies are fresh and refreshing.
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The next best thing after the design, is the restaurant. Crisply nautical in design scheme (I’m a sucker for that), deliciously open-air (and with ceiling fans to ensure a breeze even on still nights) with cozy cushioned seating and panoramic views of the sea, what’s not to like? Even better; the food is delicious. Seriously, truly delicious. Unlike other Caribbean islands, Anguilla does enjoy a pretty phenomenal dinning scene, and so the Malliouhana simply had to perform here. And that they did. Likely, with the help of Auberge. By bringing in the talent from New York, who expertly created a menu that showcases the best of the Caribbean Sea’s offerings with a Mediterranean twist, I can honestly say, that each meal (and I had all three) was remarkably tasty. From the spiny lobster benedict in the morning (oh yes, I did) to the multi-course dinner, which included house-made garganelli pasta in squid ink and coconut oil plus poached grouper with jerk spiced spinach. I would go back just as much for the food as the scenery. And in the Caribbean, that’s no small feat. Kudos.malliouhana-auberge-resort-anguilla-dining-restaurant-collagemalliouhana-auberge-resort-anguilla-gallery-5

So, until my next visit, of which I’m certain there will be one, I shall dream of the cheerful resort’s stylish decor, the seaside setting and the delicious meals. And for a resort located on an island where the beach generally steals the show, I believe my recollections say it clearly: This place is exceptional. malliouhana-auberge-resort-anguilla-dining-restaurant-gallery-12

For more information and personal details regarding the Malliouhana or for questions on whether this spot would be a good fit for your  next trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Posted in: Beach, Caribbean, Hotel Reviews

Published by Meg, Wednesday, April 8, 2015 No Comments

Just Back From: Saint Barth’s

Caribbean, Saint Barth's

Jan
30
2015

As those who know me know, I love Saint Barths. It’s my favorite island in the Caribbean. And though I shy from the word “favorite” when asked to suggest or recommend places, I must confess, this French isle has my heart.

hubpic.ashx I  feel very fortunate to visit as often as I do and work closely with the many talented individuals who create and enhance the island’s inherent charms. From truly outstanding cuisine to breathtaking vistas and some of the most eye-popping accommodations one could imagine, the island is one-of-a-kind.

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I am currently working on finishing my next app: Saint Barth’s Hideaways, having endured some setbacks with the developers, and hope to launch by spring. I look forward to sharing my discoveries and suggestions. And in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re planning a visit. I love nothing more than to advise on vacations to this very special spot where “feet in the sand” is a way of life.

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Posted in: Caribbean, Saint Barth's

Published by Meg, Friday, January 30, 2015 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.