Set in the most magnificent established gardens: heavily laden fig, pomegranate, citrus & prickly pear trees, begging to be picked & eaten off the branch. Edit the Bali influence & bad signage out of your memory and stay here as an alternative to the seaside or if you do not have the captain of your super yacht on speed dial.
We had a fun, long, late lunch, but could have easily stayed here for the day (you can purchase a day pass) and hung out at the super chic pools, laying about on daybeds sipping cocktails and squeezing in a spa treatment.
Although Ibiza has never made it into my top 5 (or top 100), I was not one to turn down the invitation of a week of luxury to celebrate my friends 40th on a super yacht off the coast.
I have heard over the years that there was more to the notorious party island, so I put in a little effort to scratch beneath the surface between sunbathing, paddle boarding, sea bobbing, jet skiing and long lunches.
I flew to Queenstown to have a concentrated meeting with my architect & visionaire, Kelvin Ho & Justin Hemmes. Unfortunately for the meeting, we got a little distracted by very fast boats, racing cars, local food & wine and the most amazing backdrop ever!! Here are some of my pics.
I am coming back in October & most definitely planning to have Queenstown & its surrounds in an upcoming book.
“God, I’m so tired” comes to mind. But there are many reasons to drag yourself through the day & dance till dawn every night!
To get going, first up a coffee and food needs to be organised! Delis do a great BLT (bacon fried to snapping point) and they deliver, even if it amounts to $5! Don’t be shy, call your local deli- the concierge will have the number.
I have my favourite haunts from many an early shoot morning: Columbine for the best BLT on 7 grain bread; Ceci Cela for perfect French baguette with ham; Joe’s for the best coffee in town (and although coffee is finally getting serious in NYC you still have to know where they are located); a lofty Balthazar Breakfast; Le Pain Quotidien; Brown Cafe for l.e.s breakfast platter; The Smile.
A quick trip & yes, way to quick. I have an emotional attachment to the desert, it makes my heart sing but the reason is unknown to me, perhaps it is a left over sentiment from a past life.
I had a meeting with an exciting new company and thought I would try to squeeze some extra play in. Although I had to fly into Albuquerque, an hours drive from Sante Fe, it did not disappoint as the desert showed off a spectacular sunset that had me trying to capture it out my window whilst driving (not advised).
Sante Fe was pumping, a balmy night with a whisper of a classic car rally in the plaza. I checked in to the very central, and tonally designed, Hotel St Francis. A late night snack at Pasqual’s on the corner and a stroll around town. There are lots of fun bars where you can try a margherita or two!
Head to the Farmer’s Market at the Railway for a light breakfast & coffee in the morning (I had tamale), a bag of seasonal fruit & vegetables to pick away at. Cherries, early stone fruit, carrots & radishes were in season when I was there. Buy a Monte Cristo panama to shield off the midday desert sun and check out the Native American jewellery on display around the plaza.
Finish the day at Ten Thousand Waves, Japanese style baths in the sandy hills behind Sante Fe, for a stone massage or lazing around in the pools.
I heard word of this whilst meeting with the architects/ visionaires/ designers and thought it sounded like a trip. A good trip.
This is an interactive, make it your own kind of theatre. It plays out at the McKittrick Hotel on 27th St which you check into for the evening (note: this is not a real hotel).
You are enticed & intrigued at once, even with the simple act of checking your bag & heels as I did. You’re elevated to the 2nd floor which is a bar that acts as a kind of super fun alcohol fuelled waiting area hosted by the marvellous Maximillian.
On check in you receive a ‘key’ which is also a card, that is required at some point (so don’t lose it). I am not going to reveal all, but do suggest the absinthe spiked shots, and St Germaine & champagne cocktail. You are allowed access into the upper 3 floors as long as you agree to the rules of No Talking and wearing your white nosed mask at all times.
I went alone & many are broken up anyway, so have fun, don’t worry if you are not following a plot or are slightly lost (there is a book for sale at the end for $20 with some form of explanation). The actors come in & out of the many rooms (I think it’s about 50) and you might stumble upon them dancing in a ballroom, setting a table, naked in a tub with blood smeared hands or crashing into the funeral parlour, whose drawers you may be riffling through! I took several breaks on the 2nd floor to listen to the quartet & gorgeous jazz singer with her silky smooth voice and top up on the cocktails.
It goes for about 3 hours, you can check out whenever you like, but I never wanted to leave. It is a somewhat choose-your-own-adventure and adventure it is. You are often on your own, and unaware of how many participants there actually are. The sets and attention to detail is extraordinary: sweet shops, forest, funeral parlours, pheasant filled janitor cupboards, cardboard bars, lounge rooms, dimly lit sconced hallways, bedrooms, cavernous ballrooms, an empty restaurant with a horse, a curiosity shop with taxidermied creatures amongst other oddities, stone garden with scuptures and book shelved lined rooms.
You are encouraged to touch, listen, sit, open, try on, lie on and explore all corners in any order at any time, but more time is what I needed! This is the best fun, intriguing, mind blowing, uplifting, sexy, dark, eery, curious (if your are afraid of the dark I recommend you do not go). I could go 20 times & have a different experience each time at Sleep No More.