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5 Fantasy Valentine recommendations from Juliet Kinsman, Editor in Chief at Mr& Mrs Smith

I have known Juliet since the beginnings of our Travelwrap journey, in fact, I am pretty sure there was one of our gorgeous Poppy Travelwraps (circa 2009 design) left in the back of a NY cab a few years back …but we have somehow managed to move on from that tragic day! 

 

 

Founding editor at Smith Hotels, Juliet Kinsman is instinctive about what makes a stay stylish and special. In two decades as a journalist, her travel tips and interior design articles have appeared in publications from Conde Nast Traveler to The Independent, There's nothing Juliet loves more than inspiring people to squeeze the most of time in a new destination, from the gritty to the glamorous, as her fashion and hotel recommendations in the 2014 edition of the Louis Vuitton New York City Guide attest. Thankfully Juliet  is a fellow (and prolific) Tweeter and has managed to dip her toe in the whole Instagram thing as well (now submerged in fact). She loves evangelising about the inspiring places and people she meets along the way. Yup. She's one of those smartphone monkeys you see in restaurants snapping their meals in the name of @smithhotels @julietkinsman and her local West London blog ParkLifeBlog.

 

Jade Mountain

 



Original architecture and open-to-the-air spaces with private infinity pools have wowed many a celebrity. Jade Mountain delivers romance in a very unique way in this verdant corner of the Caribbean: each of the 29 suites in this hilltop-perched retreat has an extra-special ensuite bathroom with huge Jacuzzi tubs, all blessed with a grandstand view of the Piton mountains.

 

Southern Ocean Lodge, South Australia

 



If solitude and sleek design are the way to your heart, this hip hideaway enhances that with the feeling there’s no-one else for miles. Here on Kangaroo Island it’s all about the great outdoors and on your doorstep Australia's answer to the Galapagos Islands awaits in terms of extraordinary wildlife, the stuff of proper once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Maybe a bit far just for 14 Feb, but one to earmark if your Valentine's goes so well there's a honeymoon one day...

JK Place Capri

 

 

A boat ride from Naples, this 22-room cutey regularly tops lists of the world’s best hotels. Set into the cliffs overlooking the port, JK Place Capri is a stylish sanctuary away from any tourist mêlée, and this high-end villa is lesson in how pristine chic can still promise a warm atmosphere. Don’t miss a whirl in the nearby Olimpo SPA Steam Bath in Via Tornabuoni.

Palais Namaskar

 

Perhaps it’s the influence of the Far Eastern philosophy of feng shui or maybe it’s the sprawling Balinese-inspired grounds – but this luxury retreat on the edge of the Palmeraie is pure aphrodisiac. The suites scream ‘romance’: the six Desert Modernism-evoking Pool Villas even have their own heated swimming pools set on bigger cold-water ones. Le Spa Namaskar also has two couple-worthy spa suites with steamy hammams. And don’t miss a cocktail at sunset at the roof terrace No Mad Bar: toast the view of the mountains with an Atlas Old-Fashioned: Old Overhault rye, Kummel liqueur, Peychaud’s bitters.

Crosby Street Hotel

 

Kit Kemp splashed her special British blend colour, patterns, textures and specially commissioned art into New York’s boutique-hotel landscape, and the result was loft-inspired spaces which are witty and pretty in a way that's unique to this city. It's not just the interior design that tugs on your heart strings though: it's the Downtown views from those SoHo loft-style bedrooms. 
 
 

Travelwrap Admin - Thursday, February 13, 2014
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Gaia House - a buddhist retreat in Devon by Caroline Sylger Jones

 

Caroline Sylger Jones is a  travel journalist for The Times and other national papers and glossy magazines and Editor of Queen of Retreats which is an independent travel site for spas, retreats and healthy holidays. Her loves include her daughter & her King , daily yoga, reading absorbing novels in deep hot Epsom salt baths, coastal walks, green tea and giant doses of solitude – and one or two seriously rejuvenating retreats per year. A wander around Queen of Retreats as we approach the end of January might just help connect you with your perfect 2014 rejuvenation package!

 


 
 
Caroline:

 My favourite place to just be is on a buddhist meditation retreat at my local retreat, Gaia House in Devon. It's so simple, but absolutely heaven, because you get to strip away everything you don't need and just learn to be in the moment. There's expansive gardens, healthy veggie food and a genuinely peaceful atmosphere, but best of all is the meditation guidance and inspiring talks given by Buddhists which help put our individual cares and worries in perspective.

 

 

Whenever I'm at a stress point in my day or in my life, my mind generally finds the expansive meditation hall at Gaia, or a lush corner of its garden, and instantly feels chilled. I travel the world reviewing spas, retreats and healthy holidays for the national press, but I love the fact that my favourite place is so affordable and so near my home. 

 

Travelwrap Admin - Thursday, January 23, 2014
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This is where the magic began...The Nutcracker Ballet ,The English National Ballet

My expectations of The Nutcracker were already too high as my sister had seen the same production last year but expectations were met and exceeded. Magical is an overused word when it comes to Christmas but this was the proverbial icing on the Christmas cake for us…the production was, I think,  mesmerising rather than simply magical.

 

 

Ever since our youngest was able to read one of her favourite books was The Nutcracker pop up story book and so for years (well she is only 8 now so not that many years) we have promised that when she was old enough we would go to see it in London at Christmas. Tucked into the bottom of stockings this year for both our girls was a golden ticket to the Nutcracker.

 

 

I think The Nutcracker is it is actually a difficult story to interpret as a ballet, the little girl's journey from the grand house to the magical kingdom and back again is a big ask for a child’s imagination but Tchaikovsky’s music is so strong and familiar that it doesn’t matter so much.

 

 

I am still trying to decide which my favourite piece was …the dancers ice skating on stage during the opening scene (almost surreal); the elegance and personality of the Sugar Plum Fairy (apparently the top layer of her skirt takes one day to make and there are 400 Swarovski crystals sewn onto each of the costumes and 9 principals that dance this role!)….. or maybe it was that perfectly executed dance of those very perfect snowflakes.

 

 

 Any which way, I think The London Nutcracker trip may have to become one of our treasured Christmas traditions …and passing the posters in the underground of Swan Lake I felt slightly sorry for my dear husband (much as he enjoyed The Nutcracker he is not the world’s biggest ballet fan )…he might have to endure another trip to the ballet before long….

 

Travelwrap Admin - Thursday, January 02, 2014
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