friday escapes

Travel Visions 2

I know you may have been expecting a Friday Escape...but while I'm doing my Unravelling class, I've decided that I need to focus on my writing and photo assignments....so I hope you will forgive me and still enjoy this little collection of travel inspired images. I promise we will jump back into our vicarious travel when I've completed the course...which, by the way, is AMAZING!

Have a beautiful and inspired weekend!

xo,

Images via here.

Friday Escapes: Ireland

Happy Friday! With yesterday being St. Patty's I thought it only fitting that we journey to Ireland today. I can't wait! Let's go...

Speaking of castles...you know I have a thing for them...what girl doesn't? So of course, I found a gorgeous one for us to stay in! We are headed to Lismore Castle just outside of the town of Lismore in County Waterford. Map. If you want to stay at Lismore Castle you have to rent the whole thing out...it costs a fortune but I managed to pull a few strings and got us a deal. ;)

Oh and I have a surprise - I arranged for a coach to pick us up. Why? Because arriving at a castle in a horse drawn carriage is perfectly dreamy...

[audio http://graceandivy.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/53377__dobroide__20080504-horse-drawn-00.mp3]

There is the castle up ahead!

Let's check in and take a peek at our room and then we can explore the gardens.

So beautiful! Don't you feel like a princess? Oh let's stop in the drawing room and have tea and treats before we venture out...

image

Let's go for a stroll through the manicured grounds...

[audio http://graceandivy.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/23131__pcaeldries__countrysidesummerevening.mp3]

Well...I must leave you now my friends. Have a rest on this bench, smell the roses and breathe in the gorgeous fresh air of the Irish countryside. Hope you enjoyed our little trip to Ireland.

Have a fantastic weekend!!

xo,

Images via here, here and here. Sounds via here.

Friday Escape: Maldives

Okay so are you ready for your Friday Escape? I am! Thank you so much to those of you who left suggestions. I really appreciate it. I made a list and we will be visiting all the lovely locations you recommended. Today, thanks to one of my fabulous readers, Hera, we are going to the Maldives!

This gorgeous Island Nation is in the Indian ocean about 250 miles south-west of India. Amazing crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and decadent resorts...it's a little slice of paradise. Let's go!

I know...it doesn't look real. I've only seen this kind of beach as a screen saver!  This must be where they get those shots!

We are staying at the Alila Villas Hadahaa resort. The resort is located on one of the tropical islands in the North Huvadhoo Atol. It's reputation is stellar and many celebrities have stayed here...so it should be perfect for us.

Luxury - check. Amazing - check. Could never afford it in real life - check.

That's it up ahead...see the little villas that are built right over the ocean! I booked us in one of those...of course. Only the best for my Friday escape travelers.

Welcome to the resort...wanna go see our Aqua Villa....

Isn't it beautiful? Let's go inside...

Yeah... this should be just fine. Follow me and I'll show you where I will be spending most of my time...

So fabulous right? The colors of the water are so stunning! Who's making cocktails? Oh heck, I'll just have some brought over to us.

So what do you think? A couple of hours on the deck then we can hit the beach, a sunset soak at the spa followed by a massage then we will hit the bar and restaurant for dinner...sound like a plan?

The two restaurants at the resort, Battuta and Relish serve up Maldivian and Moroccan inspired cuisine. Yum! I love trying new dishes. Want recipes? Go here or here.

I ordered this delectable Moroccan chicken and chickpea dish with spicy avocado! Recipe.

That was delicious! Let's stroll back to our villa. I am totally ready to fall asleep, listening to the waves...

Wow look at those stars. This place is magical. Okay...lets see take a vote...raise your hand if you never want to leave!

Hope you enjoyed this little jaunt to the Maldives. Pretty amazing place huh? Thanks for coming along.

I hope you have a perfect weekend.

xo,

Images via here and here.

Travel Visions

Hi there. Well...unfortunately, I don't have a Friday Escape for you today. My little Grace is home sick with an ear infection so my attention needs to be on her. But...I didn't want to leave you with nothing, so I'm sharing some of the beautiful travel images I've collected for my Pinterest Travel board.

A majestic landscape in Val di Funes, Italy.

The gorgeous city of Prague.

Colorful hot air balloon over Paris.

Simply charming tea houses in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Last but certainly not least, my beautiful home town, Sydney, Australia.

Hope you enjoy these. I want to hear from you - where would you like us to explore on our Friday Escapes? Any ideas? I'm making a list.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

xo,

 

Friday Escape: Ravello, Italy

Hello Friends! Happy Friday! Sorry for the late post, internet troubles this morning. ugh. Okay, are you ready for your escape?

Look, I know we have already been to Italy on one of our Vicarious Vacations...but who can get enough of Italy? I mean, really. I know I can't, especially since I've never actually been there.

Sad.

So, yeah you bet I'm going to go there vicariously as much as I can! Besides, this place is a completely different feel to our last trip. I think you will love it!

Enough chit chat. Today, we are going to Ravello, Italy, along the Amalfi Coast. Map here.

Breathtaking isn't it?

I've got us booked into the Hotel Palazzo Sasso.  It was ranked #8 in the World's Best Hotels for 2010 by Travel + Leisure...so I think it will fit our extremely high standards! Let's go check it out.

The Hotel, which is actually a 12th century villa, is perched 1000 ft above the glimmering Mediterranean sea. Drop dead gorgeous views are a given!

Let's go see our suite! When you travel vicariously, you should always stay in the most extravagant room, don't you think?

Please, go out onto our private terrace...the view is simply superb...

I know...amazing. I have a feeling we will back here later with a glass of something fabulous to watch the sunset!

So, since we got here so early, let's have breakfast out on the main dining terrace.

Shouldn't everyday start like this?

After we enjoy our lovely breakfast I thought we'd go on a bit of a boat ride. Gotta get some one on one time with the Amalfi coastline...

Come with me down to the lower terrace...my gorgeous friend Marco is picking us up. (Yes, Marco is imaginary...but just go with me on this one...)

Here he is now...perfect timing...meet imaginary Marco...( cue - giggle and toss hair)

Ciao!

Off we go!

Ooh...look it's the beautiful city of Positano up ahead!

So pretty! We may have to come back here sometime.

Well, I'm starving and although, Marco provides eye candy, he doesn't do much for my rumbling tummy so let's head back, eat a huge lunch and go into a food coma next to the pool. Plan?

Sit back, enjoy the Mediterranean sun and relax. I told Marco to go whip up some cocktails for us...he should be serving them any minute! ;)

I hope you enjoyed our little getaway! Thanks for coming along!

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo,

Images via HotelPalazzoSasso

Friday Escape: The Most Romantic Hotel in the World

My first thought of where we should go today was Paris. With Valentine's day upon us, I figured it would be a suitable destination...but...I found myself hesitating. Too obvious. So, I did a little digging and decided to take us somewhere a little bit unexpected - India! Currently ranked as the most romantic hotel in the world is the breathtaking Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Incredibly beautiful and dreamlike, this white marble palace seems to float on Lake Pichola waters, like a precious ivory flower. This architectural masterpiece was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1743. Royalty used it as a summer get away to escape the intense heat. Not too shabby for a summer home right? Let's go!

Obviously we've got to hop on a boat to get to the palace so...all aboard!

Almost there...

Welcome to the Palace. Ready to be treated like Royalty? Yes please.

I can't wait to see what the rooms are like! Let's have a peek into several of the suites...

Gorgeous right? Tough choice! But I think we deserve the Presidential Suite...don't you? Go big or go home.

Check out the view from our private terrace! This place is beyond magical.

I'm dying to explore the pool and gardens...come on...

I'm getting the feeling that romance was actually born here. Aren't the grounds stunning?

Okay, so I have a real treat for you. We usually hit a spa of some sort on our escapes but today...we are actually going on a SPA BOAT! Yup. Why not sail on the gentle waters of the lake while we slowly slip into a state of bliss...here it comes...

This spa boat idea is pure brilliance!

As the sun sets, let's go enjoy some dinner...

Don't want to join us? Would you rather have a private dinner out in the middle of the lake with your love? Go for it. It can be arranged. How's that for romantic?

As for the rest of us...let's enjoy a cocktail in the lounge while our table is being prepared...

I think we should dine in the gardens...don't you?

I leave you here to enjoy your meal and watch as the Palace is veiled in darkness. Experience the twinkling lights of a thousand candles, the fragrance of exotic blooms and hopefully a romantic night you'll never forget!

Thanks for coming with me on this Friday escape.

Happy Valentine's Day Weekend! Spend it with those you love.

xo,

p.s. Not quite ready to leave the Palace...watch the video tour here.

Images via here, here and here.

A Rose for you...

Hi there. I'm having a crazy busy day but good busy... However, yesterday, I found a little nugget of time to set up a photo shoot. Thought I would share with you..

There's nothing like the simple beauty of a white rose.

Hope you are having a lovely Thursday. The weekend is almost here, which mean tomorrow we will go on a Friday Escape! Don't miss it! Can you guess where we will go?

xo,

Escape to : Provence

As promised, I've got a little Friday escape for us. Ready? So, I've always wanted to go to the south of France...I mean, who doesn't?  Rolling fields of lavender, fabulous French cuisine, fantastic wine and the warm, golden light of the countryside. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

So today, that's where we are headed. I found us a tranquil estate just outside the little town of Cucuron.

Welcome to  the Le Pavillon de Galon -  a beautifully restored 18th century hunting pavilion, turned B & B, surrounded by vines, orchards, cherry and olive trees. Ahhh...do you smell all that lavender?

The gardens are simply superb...look at this field of irises!

Let's head inside and check out our room...there are only two guest rooms on the property so you feel like you own the place!

Lovely...let's go check out the kitchen!

You know very, very good things come out of a kitchen like this! The owners have regular cooking and wine tasting classes held here. Let's grab some fresh, warm bread, a platter of cheese and a bottle of wine and dine al fresco...

Ahh...the perfect spot. Let's picnic under these beautiful trees and enjoy the fragrant breeze. Oh. That rhymes...hee hee.

After our tummies are full we can take a little stroll into Cucuron to explore.... (click on photos for their links)

Cucuron © Valérie Loubet Cucuron, la Place et la Grande Fontaine, August 2010 Coin de Cucuron Cucuron street Cat in CucuronHow charming is this blue door? So pretty!

Cucuron MarketIn the center of town there is this pond (Bassin de l'etang) that dates back to the 14th century. It was used to supply water to a mill but now is the backdrop for many of the villages' events including a regular Market held every Tuesday morning.

Okay, well...we better head back for some R & R before dinner...I think a nap by the pool would do nicely. Yes, there's even an infinity pool at this place.

That concludes our little Friday escape to Provence. Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for coming along.

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo,