Palm trees, hammocks, sand: this is as stripped-down as a vacation experience gets, and one you’d swear couldn’t exist among the shell shops and tiki-festooned marinas of the Florida Keys. Yet here is the Moorings ($$$), a former coconut plantation with 18 tidy cottages, the vision of a peripatetic Frenchman who bought the 18-acre parcel in 1988 after spotting it from his windsurfer board. Despite the occasional frolicking model (the beach has seen its fair share of fashion shoots over the years), the resort still feels private. At sunset, amble across the road for rum cocktails and conch fritters at Morada Bay Beach Café, or do what the regulars do—bring back some stone-crab claws from the market to devour on your porch with a cold beer.
Yes, Philippe Starck may be one of the most overexposed hotel designers in the world. But just when you think, “If I’ve seen one room by Philippe Starck, I’ve seen them all,” you step into a space like the Spa at Icon Brickell.
Something about Starck’s designs just seems to make sense in Miami. And this glamorous new spa, the flagship for Viceroy Resorts, is particularly successful, with water as its central theme.
Behold, in all its glory: my idea of heaven on a plate. Stone crab season officially opened a couple of weeks ago, and I took that as the perfect excuse to head down to the Florida Keys for a blissful weekend of sun and serious seafood binging. Three jumbo claws from the Islamorada Fish Company market, plus a cold Corona or two, made the perfect warm-weather lunch—just the thing to break up a day of snoozing in a hammock and frolicking in the surf.
Stone crab meat is not only amazingly succulent and sweet, it’s also a sustainable food product. (Only one claw is harvested at a time from each crab, which is returned to the ocean to regenerate its claw.)
Ever wish you could turn your own digital travel photos into a gorgeous coffee-table tome? More and more people are doing just that; sales of custom photo books are expected to exceed $340 million in the U.S., according to one leading marketing research firm.
MyPublisher has been in the business longer than most—it began creating affordable, single-copy custom photo books for consumers in 1995. You can download the software for free. Choose your book size and style, including cover options that range
from sage- or smoke-colored European linens to hand-stitched Spanish
I have a shameful confession to make: I’m a horrendous packer. My guiding philosophy, which can be summed up with the phrase more is more, has resulted in numerous excess baggage charges (that full-size bottle of conditioner? Yeah, I wash my hair a lot! Those over-the-knee stiletto boots for a weekend trip to Napa? Hell, you never know!) and countless hours cooling my heels by the baggage carousel when I could have been well on my way out the airport. So when I heard our editor-in-chief say that all she took on a 10-day trip to Italy was one carry-on bag, I was inspired. If Nancy Novogrod can do it, so can I!
Let me introduce you to my new guilty pleasure: the The W Store
website—the expertly curated online boutique of the W hotel chain. (There are
several brick-and-mortar boutiques as well.) OK, so I haven’t actually bought
anything from there yet, but just surfing through the merch makes for a
compelling mid-afternoon escape, akin to a leisurely browse through the racks
at Barneys—but you don’t even have to leave your desk!
Meet Anna Bern, my latest object of lifestyle envy. This ex-Vogue and W magazine staffer forsook the urban jungle for Narrowsburg, New York (pop. 414), a tiny hamlet in the Upper Delaware River Valley, and promptly opened a home and accessories boutique called Nest.
Meet Anna Bern, my latest object of lifestyle envy. This ex-Vogue and W magazine staffer forsook the urban jungle for Narrowsburg, New York (population 414), a tiny hamlet in the Upper Delaware River Valley, and promptly opened a home and accessories boutique called Nest.
I stumbled upon the store on a recent trip upstate, and went into a kind of retail frenzy over all the merchandise-exquisite artisan goods and handmade finds sourced by Bern on her twice-yearly trips to her native Brazil. Banana-leaf placemats, straw hats and clutches, beach-ready tunics, plus this sick cowhide chair:
The entire 1,700-square-foot space makes me want to overhaul my entire aesthetic for Bern's insouciant Ipanema style. Note: Narrowsburg itself has gotten a fair amount of buzz lately; it's an idyllic little weekend destination in the making. Watch this space.
Judging from the hyacinths on my windowsill—fragrant and fresh not so long ago, but now defeated and dying—I am the very opposite of a green thumb. And yet: garden shops make me happier than almost anything in the world. The latest crop of nurseries seems to speak to people like me, who hesitate to call themselves “gardeners” yet feel compelled to surround themselves with beauty.
More Domino magazine than Fine Gardening, these shops are all about celebrating the outdoor lifestyle. So in honor of spring and the budding trees outside my window (just beyond my wilting hyacinths), here are my three all-time favorites.
The ne plus ultra of modern garden shops has to be the U.K.’s Petersham Nurseries (above), in Richmond Surrey (a quick train ride from London). This place is wonderfully bucolic, and also wickedly chic. Greenhouses and an exuberant cutting garden are interspersed with vignettes of antique outdoor furnishings and accessories; there are linen ribbons and napkins, beeswax candles, eco cleaning products, even photogenic balls of twine. Of course, there’s also chef Skye Gyngell’s Petersham Nurseries Café, where diners sit in a kind of artistic shed and feast on garden-fresh produce off zinc-topped tables. (This image is from an event for artist Cy Twombly.) New for spring: seasonal classes from their Urban Gardening School, including the flower-arranging workshop on May 12th. (Off Petersham Road, Richmond Surrey, U.K.; 44-20/8940-5230; petershamnurseries.com)
San Francisco’s Flora Grubb Gardens is so infused with the energy of its owner—the bewitchingly named Ms. Grubb, seen here, below—that you’ll immediately want to quit your job and move to the West Coast and devote yourself to the outdoors.
Her specialties are palms and succulents, and she’s created a magical little oasis on the industrial outskirts of town. (Bonus: an on-site Ritual Coffee Roasters café, a Bay Area cult favorite with a seriously potent brew.) Love the sexy Concreteworks lounge chairs seen above in the foreground—the perfect complement to Flora’s modern, multilayered aesthetic. (1634 Jerrold Ave., San Francisco; 415/626-7256; floragrubb.com)
Finally, from the folks who brought you Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie (!), there’s Terrain at Styers. The 11-acre store brings the whole West Coast indoor-outdoor thing to the Philadelphia suburb of Glen Mills: that means lots of reclaimed wood and antique vessels, plus a café in an antique greenhouse. This may not be the cheapest place to shop for plants or a pruner—but for sheer lifestyle inspiration, it’s in a class of its own. (914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, PA; 610/459-2400; terrainathome.com)
Irene Edwards is the Special Project Editor at Travel+Leisure.