As the artistic director for De Beers, Raphaèle Canot is constantly on the road, seeking out inspiration for new collections. On the eve of the opening of the jewelry company's über-modern New York flagship store (703 Fifth Ave.; 212/906-0001), Canot shared some travel tips and recent discoveries.

PACKING ESSENTIALS "Everything fits in my pink leather Goyard bag—a Japanese woman even photographed me carrying it. I bring one or two pieces of jewelry and a silk and chiffon dress by Tsumori Chisato."

GRAND SLAM "Once a year, I need to take a break and be outside. Last year, I stayed at El Tovar Hotel [888/ 297-2757; doubles from $133], in the Grand Canyon. Everyone should go once in their life. I even came up with our next line there—it gives the impression that the jewels come from the earth."

YES, SUR "I love the giant spaces in America that we don't have in Europe, like Big Sur. At the Ventana Inn & Spa [800/628-6500; doubles from $429], you feel as if you're in the middle of nature, but you have all that you need to be spoiled and pampered."

El Tovar Hotel

Built in 1905 and fully renovated in 2005, the elegant hotel is one of the country’s most revered national park lodge treasures and has hosted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein.

Ventana Inn & Spa

If hammocks, afternoon wine and cheese receptions, and guided “Discovery Walks” appeal to you, this cozy, adults-only retreat is just your ticket. Days here fall into an unhurried, restorative pace: Staff encourage guests to begin with a one-hour guided walk around the property, which is offered every day at 10 a.m. Keep your eyes peeled for California condors, red-tailed hawks, and, during migration season (December-January and April-May), gray whales. Afterward, settle in for a sea-inspired treatment at the spa (be sure to take advantage of the adjoining bathhouses and sun decks, but note—some are clothing-optional). The property was purposefully built with plenty of windows to take in the breathtaking view, and rooms here are modern, yet cozy, and subdued.