The Carneros Inn - Picture Perfect
Ever find yourself in one of those places that is such a picture perfect location that it almost seems like a work of art or something you imagined? I consider myself very fortunate to be able to travel and visit so many beautiful destinations around the World. Sometimes you even discover some very special places that are close to home. One of those special places is the unique and luxurious Carneros Inn in Napa Valley, California.
We arrived after traveling from Southern California and were ready for a nice meal. Although it was late, as soon as we turned into the property we spotted the warm glow of a burning fireplace at FARM, Carneros Inn's main restaurant. They gladly accommodated us and soon we were basking in the warm setting. FARM prides itself on utilizing local farms for many of the menu items. Executive Chef Jeff Jake and Chef de Cuisine Christophe Gerard have created a menu that reflects a commitment to simple elegant food that highlights wines from the region as well as organic and sustainable local agriculture. While I would love to see more vegetarian and vegan entree items on the menu (after all, we're only 45 minutes from San Francisco), the staff received us warmly and the chef offered several tasty veg options that we gladly took advantage of.
After a delicious meal it was time to check in. At The Carneros Inn, there are no "hotel rooms". Instead, the accommodations are actual individual cottages. We're not talking about your Grandma's cottage either. The design is super cool, kind of like if Ian Schrager hired Philippe Starck to design a country cottage. I'm not kidding here folks, these "cottages" are cool! Each individual cottage has it's own serene private courtyard. It's so private, you may be tempted to use the alfresco shower! (Don't worry, the indoor shower is there for the less adventurous). The cottages combine country comfort with modern conveniences. Wood-burning fireplaces with smooth concrete hearths provide cozy warmth. Flat-panel TV's and DVD players provide for a little movie-viewing after a day in the country. The desk, front porch and back patio all have Ethernet ports connected to a high-speed network. Fortunately that's about all that is high-speed about this place. Everything is relaxed and most of the staff cruise around quietly and efficiently on electric golf-type carts.
When we woke up the next morning and stepped out of our cottage we were just amazed by the beauty of our surroundings. The entire property is nestled among 27 acres of grape vines, unspoiled farmland, and scenic apple orchards. It is truly a picture-perfect setting. If you are looking for hustle bustle and loads of activities, this is not that place. Resort activities included a nice walk/run in the vineyard and an Anusara Yoga class. The setting is both refined and relaxed and the pace here is very "go with the flow."
We walked down a short trail to the Boon Fly Cafe for breakfast. Another inspiring design, think "hipster barn", Boon Fly has a great casual atmosphere and delicious and fresh menu items. Mark loved this place so much he refused to eat breakfast anywhere else during our stay. We both consider ourselves to be granola connoisseurs and Carneros Inn has their own home-made blend that rocks, especially with fruit and cold soy milk. Likewise the steel cut oatmeal with soymilk and fruit was delicious. Lot's of other great items and since everything is made fresh to order, they can easily accommodate vegetarian and vegan requests. Boon Fly is also a more casual option for lunch and dinner and a popular place for weekend brunch.
The Ritz Carlton located on the Island of Maui is home to the Kapalua Spa. Michelle visits the resort and the spa for the perfect Hawaiian getaway.
Hey pal, take a hike... to the rainforest! The rainforest is extremely important to the health of our planet. In this segment Michelle travels to Tobago and hikes through their rainforest. She also makes a stop at a plantation where Tobago's Minister of Agriculture shows off some organic crops including cocoa and bananas.
Veins, Veins Go Away!
Who wants those painful and just downright ugly varicose and spider veins? Michelle visits the experts to explore easy new treatments to get rid of those problem veins.
Ritz Carlton Palm Beach Spa
Ritz Carlton always goes out of their way to provide their guests the ultimate in relaxation. The Ritz Carlton Spa in Palm Beach Florida always leaves guests calm and refreshed!
Bye Bye Cellulite! Endermologie helps to get rid of that unsightly dimpled look. See endermologie treatments by a professional and machines you can use right at home!
Getting pampered is the best part of a cruise! See the latest Caribbean inspired spa treatments from Silversea Cruise as we float away with the Mandara Spa!
Le Grand Courlan Spa
The spa at Le Grand Courlan on the island of Tobago is one of the Caribbean’s most sought after destinations. With local flavor, the spa is designed to enhance body, mind and soul.
Give a Great Massage
You don’t always have to go to a spa to get a great massage! You can give that special someone a professional style massage at home!
Make Your Own Massage Oil
What smells yummy and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth? A massage oil you create yourself that is custom blended with your favorite fragrances. Learn to create a great smelling, silky smooth massage oil.
Hike to Luxury - The Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara, CA is one of my very favorite weekend getaways. Nestled on a spectacular stretch of California Coastline, Bacara combines a luxurious atmosphere with getting back to nature. As part of their fitness programs the property offers hikers a chance to explore with treks through avocado groves up into the Santa Barbara mountains offering spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Hikes are available for all fitness levels. Also, don't miss their heavenly spa for unique treatments and total relaxation. I loved their spa cafe too! They had a great "healthy gourmet" menu with lots of vegetarian choices, the food was extremely fresh and delicious and the setting was very warm and relaxing. Can't wait for my next visit! www.bacararesort.comVisit Paradise One of the most beautiful places I've ever visited is Kapalua in Maui. Maui has more than just beautiful beaches and breathtaking ocean views. The culture and heritage here at Kapalua Resort have been present for centuries and preserved for generations to come. Environmental stewardship is a guiding principle of this one-of-a-kind resort community. Surrounded by the protected West Maui rainforest and two marine sanctuaries, Kapalua Resort is one of the most unique destinations on the planet! Stay where we stay at the Kapalua Villas to experience exceptional service, superior amenities and true ho'okipa (hospitality0. The full service concierge and activity desk will keep you busy with breathtaking hikes, eco-tours and more. Don't miss spa treatments at the world-class Kapalua Spa! Surrounded by serene Kapalua Bay, the 30,000-square foot spa embraces the healing properties of water and features 19 treatment rooms and outdoor bungalows. Stone soaking tubs are nestled among fragrant gardens amid panoramic views of the ocean and island of Moloka‘i. This is the ultimate spa experience. Watching migrating whales pass by as I did my morning yoga at the spa was a moment I will never forget. Try a Yoga Workshop! Now you can take your yoga to the next level while you travel! A great example are the Yoga Workshop Retreats at the Mayflower Inn & Spa www.mayflowerinn.com located just 2 hours from NYC in lovely Washington, Connecticut. Their yoga workshop features inspiring yoga instructors and four days of yoga. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned practitioner looking to deepen your yoga, their workshops will increase strength, flexibility and energy. The intensive yoga is enhanced by all of the usual unlimited treatments, activities and spa cuisine which are the signature of their Destination Spa programming. www.mayflowerinn.com
Give Back! Volunteer vacations are a great way to give you a spiritual boost by doing something to help others. Many organizations now offer packages where you can volunteer and stay at accommodations nearby. Help animals at Farm Sanctuary www.farmsanctuary.org , cavort with dogs, cats and even bird and bunnies at UtahŐs Best Friends Animal Society www.bestfriends.org. Go overseas to help improve impoverished communities with the Global Citizens Network www.globalcitizens.org and have a truly special vacation!
Try an Eco Vacation - Whether you want to chill in Costa Rica at an Eco Resort or go to a 4 or 5 star hotel there are plenty of eco friendly choices. Chains and independent hotels are going green. Watch for LEED certified 1 Hotel in Atlanta to open in 2010 which will be a luxury hotel that combines comfort with sustainability.
Golf Pilates? Yes, you can improve your golf game with Pilates! The world famous Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida has an incredible oceanfront location where you can take in the scenery and prepare for your golf game with their Golf Pilates classes. Pilates Golf which uses actual golf clubs, increases flexibility and concentration for a better swing and a better game. www.thebreakers.com
Offset Your Trip - Unless you are walking or biking to your next vacation destination, itŐs a good idea to offset the greenhouse gasses produced while traveling. Driving Green www.drivinggreen.com can offset your drive, flight and even boat ride. They calculate the amount of emissions you are producing and then offset them for a fee. The money is used to support renewable energy and other methods of reducing greenhouse gasses.