A Scintillating Sanctuary in Phoenix

Sultry Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Sultry Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Elements:  Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

Elements: Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

It has been cold, rainy, snowy and windy here in Telluride, Colorado all week. I don’t mind because we always need moisture in the West and it’s also good catch-up-at-my-desk weather. But still, I can’t help daydreaming about more sunny, hot-as-a-baked-potato-fresh-out-of-the-oven environs.

I’m letting my thoughts drift to the desert, the Sonoran Desert to be exact, which I’m sure is in glorious bloom right now. Heating up nicely, too. I enjoyed a terrific visit there–within greater Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree–last summer with my mom, my fourth trip to that part of Arizona since I was young. And each time, I love it even more. Yes, we went last summer. It was a sunbaked sojourn and we reveled in it. (You just have to make sure you’re not basking in the sun during the heat of the day.)

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Paris Update: Two Lovely Left Bank Hotels

Moi on a Recent Trip to Paris

Moi on a Recent Trip to Paris

It’s that time of year again–springtime in Paris. Not only is it a beautiful time to visit the French capital, but it’s also when a lot of people–many of whom I only vaguely know through social media or elsewhere–contact me for recommendations for Paris and other parts of France. I try to graciously tell them that they will find a wealth of hotel, restaurant, shopping, sightseeing and general information as well as a treasure trove of all kinds of tidbits in my books The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France:  A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. But still, they want some insider tips directly from me. The irony of that escapes me, since I am the author of those books as well as a travel memoir entitled A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France.

So for the sake of appeasing my potential Paris travelers and out of love for the city in which I lived over eleven years, I’ve decided to start posting more on Paris and the French provinces here at my blog. Hotel recommendations are a good place to start and below you will find two of my longtime favorites.

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Telluride, Forbes and Me

The Inn at Lost Creek:  A Forbes Favorite

The Inn at Lost Creek: A Forbes Favorite in Telluride, Colorado

A Sake-tini from Siam's Talay, Another Forbes Favorite

A Sake-tini from Siam’s Talay, Another Forbes Fave

Exotic Delights at Talay, the Signature Restaurant of the Inn at Lost Creek

Exotic Delights at Talay, the Signature Restaurant of the Inn at Lost Creek

We’ve had a huge month of March here at Telluride Ski Resort and this weekend we’re slated to brake our all-time record for annual skier visits. And we still have a week to go before the mountain closes!

I’m utterly exhausted, since like most ski instructors, I’ve been going full tilt all month (actually all winter). I just had my first couple of days off in weeks and I can tell you it feels great to put my feet up and stretch my toes as I bang out this story.

It’s no wonder there’s been so much buzz about Telluride this year. In addition to the word getting out about our great ski mountain and town in recent years, Telluride Ski Resort has been receiving a lot of attention from Forbes Travel along with once again being ranked #1 in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards.

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Chef Bud Creates an Elevated Dining Experience at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Thomas at The View at Mountain Lodge

Chef Bud Thomas at The View at Mountain Lodge

“We’re delighted to have Chef Bud with us,” says Neil Hastings, Sales and Marketing Director for Mountain Lodge Telluride during a recent dinner at this renowned place of lodging in Mountain Village. “He really elevates our food and wine experience here at The View Bar and Grill.”

Ever since word began to leak out this fall that Chef Bud Thomas was leaving Rev, the signature restaurant of the Hotel Madeline and the establishment he catapulted to Forbes Travel Guide five-star and AAA five-diamond standing over the course of the more-than two years he worked there as Chef de Cuisine, diners in-the-know have been abuzz about this unexpected change.

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Ljubljana, Slovenia: Where European and Balkan Culture Live On

Lovely Ljubljana

Lovely Ljubljana

I don’t often write about a place I haven’t visited. It’s even more unusual that I report on a destination with an almost unpronounceable name. At least for me. I wrote down my own phonetic spelling as Loo bee ahna, simply because I sometimes say words in my head as I write them, especially when they’re different. And I’ve been having trouble with this one.

This minor conundrum is slowly changing since I learned from two well-traveled Telluride locals, my friends Amy and Eileen, that Ljubljana is not only easy to pronounce but also an up and coming destination, one which should be put on any savvy traveler’s list. From what they both told me, in fact, I’d say Ljubljana has arrived and you should move it toward the top of your places-to-visit inventory, especially if you’re looking for good value in a European city where you’re not going to bump into Americans–or other tourists–at every turn.

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Win a Fall Foliage Trip to Telluride, Colorado

Fall in Telluride

Fall in Telluride, Colorado

Autumn in Telluride rates as one of my favorite times of the year. Since we’re located in southwestern Colorado, it’s typically sunny and warm during the day and cool and crisp at night. Known as the gold season, the aspens present a dazzling array of sunshine yellow, honey and maize while the brush, which flanks our mountainsides and carpets our valleys, turns into a rich showing of saffron, russet and ruby red.

The foliage typically peaks at the end of September, however, the scenery remains stunning here through mid October, especially if we’re blessed with a fresh dusting of snow on our breathtaking peaks. The big summer and festival crowds have gone home, so you can easily soak up the tranquility of our charming mountain destination and the outlying area whether you’re hiking, biking, fishing, jeeping, shopping, dining or just lolling on a nice deck.

Thanks to Mountain Lodge Telluride, the New Sheridan Chop House Restaurant, Paragon Outdoors/Bootdoctors and Salon 7, you can win a fabulous stay in Telluride, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. (And that’s coming from a gal who lived eleven years in Paris.) Here’s what the trip includes:

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Hotel Boulderado: Boulder’s Bastion of Tradition

Hotel Boulderado:  A Sight to See

Hotel Boulderado: A Sight to See

“Why aren’t I staying here?” exclaimed Alec Baldwin upon a recent visit to Boulder’s renowned place of lodging, the Hotel Boulderado.

Mr. Baldwin was staying at another fine property in town but like any informed visitor to this tony Colorado city, he popped into Boulder’s landmark hotel for a look around. Certainly a lot of people feel this way as they gawk–neck-cranked and wide-eyed–up at the stunning leaded glass canopied ceiling of the Boulderado’s lobby.  The beauty of this masterpiece crafted out of cathedral glass from Italy bedazzles one and all.

As you look around the lobby you discover other treasures from the hotel’s more than a century-old past. Glass showcases display historical artifacts from the hotel and Boulder while other features of the lobby provide a living history experience extraordinaire; the Boulderado’s original safe, for example, is on display behind the front desk and the more than one-hundred year-old, operator-attended Otis elevator still works like a charm. Guests and passersby are encouraged to poke around to take in this marvelous slice of Colorado history.

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Dana Crawford Chats About the Opening of Denver’s Restored Union Station and The Crawford Hotel

Denver's Union Station

Denver’s Union Station

I rarely write about a place without having visited it, however, in this case, I can do it with the utmost confidence. I’m talking about the newly restored Union Station in Denver and a splendid hotel housed within:  The Crawford. Both have been a labor of love of for Dana Crawford and Sage Hospitality, and Colorado is abuzz about the reopening of this landmark station and the unveiling of this unique hotel. Listen to what Ms. Crawford has to say about this enormous project, her passion for restoration and future plans in the works in my Travel Fun interview below.

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