Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Tablet Hotels and Me

Personal or Promotion


It’s official. I’ve gone back to full-time work. My new job is to help lead the editorial team at Tablet Hotels. And, if my recent introduction (see post below lifted from Tablet’s beautiful blog, Tablet Talk) to the Tablet community is any indication of future treatment, not to mention, encouraged hotel opinions, well, then it looks like a great match!

Screen shot 2011-11-15 at 10.29.36 PM

There’s a new member to the ever-expanding Tablet family, and we thought it best to introduce you to her here.

Meg Nolan van Reesema is a hotel expert through and through, with so many hotel stays under her belt, she’s starting to lose count (450? 500?). After working on the editorial staffs of magazines such as Town & Country, Vanity Fair and Travel + Leisure Golf, she became a freelance travel writer, blogger and author, publishing three books (Caribbean Hideaways, Italian Hideaways, and most recently, England’s Hideaways) with Rizzoli.

She’s traveled the world (43 or so countries), scouting true hotel gems and their enviable locations. So why keep that kind of knowledge under wraps? Despite her reluctance towards the word “favorite,” we asked her to select a few of her top spots below:

Cape Grace Hotel
Cape Town, South Africa
“From the rooftop spa to the in-your-face Table Mountain view, plus a few indulgent extras like a mahogany-laden cigar bar, multi-course tasting menus (vegan versions too!) and a gleaming motor yacht for champagne sundowner cruises, coddling one’s jet-lag knows no better home. That, and even the standard rooms’ dressing area and bathrooms offer the most comfortable layout I’ve seen yet.”

Villa Fontelunga
Siena, Italy
“With natural entertainers Paolo, Simon and Philip as hosts, throwing impromptu family-style dinner parties and low-key cocktail gatherings on the celeb pokies back lawn, Fontelunga has an inviting, social air. So when you pair that inclusive spirit with the setting of a historic, rose-colored Villa, or the more mod, tangential villas, the makings of a memorable, if not cinematic, evening are assured.”

Meg's booksRelais La Suvera
Siena, Italy
“What can I say? I’m a sucker for hotels that make me wish for time travel, or at least a grand, eighteenth-century, soiree to attend. With an enormous aviary in the courtyard, a fragrant lemon-tree garden and a ballroom with balconies overlooking the Tuscan countryside, the setting is complete. Plus, the breakfast buffet features silver serving trays and crystal glasses.”

Jade Mountain
Soufriere, St. Lucia
“Easily, it is one of the most architecturally astounding hotels in the Caribbean. The open-air, panoramic views render requests for ‘ocean view’ amusing, while the ‘dojo,’ or personal butler, policy, full-feature spa and sunrise yoga ensure the pampering box is boldly checked. It’s also where I was introduced to  jungle-biking, a remarkably challenging adventure through tangled, muddy paths alongside remnants of a 17th-century rum plantation.”

Covent Garden Hotel
London, England
“Rarely has a hotel married the concept of private and public space as well as Covent Garden and smack in an enviable urban location. It satisfies the need to meet people for coffee and then squire away in solitude with a book in the cozy library. Plus, the suites actually deliver on their elevated stature and make one feel truly special.”

Hotel Oceana
Santa Barbara, California
“I may be slightly influenced by memory and our exceptional service (it’s where my husband proposed), but I’m fairly certain I was smitten with its beachfront location, laidback buffet breakfast, affordable price and adorable pool cabanas before the question was popped.”

Posted in: Personal or Promotion

Published by Meg, Tuesday, November 15, 2011 No Comments

Cape Town and Franschoek, South Africa

March 8-15th, 2011

The beautiful Cape Grace Hotel and polished old schooner tied alongside

The beautiful Cape Grace Hotel and polished old schooner tied alongside

This past week I spent a glorious, though somewhat hectic, time running between appointments and site-inspection tours in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands.  Despite it being my third visit to the area, (I am ridiculously,  hideously spoiled by this fact, I know), I remain as enchanted as my first visit by the raw, sheer beauty of the city and lush winelands. The mountains, especially Table Mountain, whose omnipotence seems undeniable, provide an indelible mark to the landscape, ensuring a humble and respectful perspective from all who view them.

The mountains and the Garden at Babylonstoren in Franschoek

The mountains and the Garden at Babylonstoren in Franschoek

Enough of my ramblings on nature, however, I must implore any and all able to visit the southern area of South Africa and see for yourself, the natural, rock awesomeness that abounds. And if  you’re savvy, you’ll make the lovely Cape Grace Hotel, your lodgings of choice, where such luxury amenities as a chartered yacht, the Spirit profollica scam of the Cape, is available for private tours, meals and sunset dining anchoring just outside of famous 4th Beach in the Clifton area of Cape Town. As you can probably tell from the candid photo below, the food served onboard is delicious, fresh and abundant, plus it comes with excellent Cape Classique bubbly.

Dining aboard the Spirit of the Cape at Sunset

Dining aboard the Spirit of the Cape at Sunset

Our view that evening was exceptional. To choose between the setting sun and the glorious 12 Apostles range behind us, was a sincere challenge. The fact that this visual glory is a nightly affair for local Cape Townians seems like an embarrassment of riches, fortunately the locals are equally as impressed by their city’s topographical excellence and frequently gather on the beach with picnics to witness the epic affair. After all, ‘sundowners’  – a drink at sundown – are indeed, the local custom.

Our Sunset view from the yacht

Our Sunset view from the yacht


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Posted in: Africa

Published by Meg, Thursday, March 17, 2011 No Comments

about meg

About Meg


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.