Voyage à Paris

January 15, 2017

It's been about a month since our trip to Paris, and I still think about it almost daily. The entire Iceland & European adventure was epic to say the least and I miss all the destinations and am constantly daydreaming of visiting again. Of all the destinations my favorite was a tie between Iceland and Paris, and since traveling to Paris was a childhood dream it was a little extra special. 

Within minutes I fell in love with the vibe of the city, the vibe, the bustling streets, the cafes, the architecture and the history. I can't even begin to express how amazing Paris is - a definite must see for those of you who love to travel.

While in Paris we stayed at La Maison Favart, which was absolutely lovely. Before our arrival, the concierge reached out to us to assist in planning dinner, tours and itineraries. Normally I have everything already planned when we travel, but since Paris is such an overwhelming destination with so much to see and do I decided to lean on them for help - and I am so happy we did. The concierge staff, which was two men, took our list of things we wanted to see and do and put together a perfect itinerary making suggestions, adding in must see items and suggesting delectable dining locations. They purchased all of our museum tickets for us, made all of our dinner reservations, made sure we had cabs to and from locations and were warm and welcoming every time we saw them (the entire staff was for that matter). 

The hotel itself was beautiful, from the decor to the fresh florals, furniture, lounge area, fireplace and location it could not be a better place to stay for our first visit. We were able to walk almost everywhere we wanted to go and everything else was a quick cab ride away. Our breakfast was included, which saved us time and money each day, and was delicious with fresh fruits, breads, pastries, jam and hot selections such as eggs, bacon, crepes and quiche. In the evenings we also enjoyed the 'honest bar' (where you just wrote down what you had and they billed it to the room) with a selection of drinks, snacks, petite fours and yummy chocolates. 

We packed every single day of our stay from the very first thing in the morning until the last bit of the evening with late dinners sipping fine champagne and enjoying some of the best foods of all our travels. Unfortunately, we didn't have an extremely long visit, but we did get to see almost everything on our lists. Here was our agenda:

Day 1

Mid Morning Arrival from Iceland & Early Check-in at our hotel
Explore Galeries Lafayette - a must see for shopping
The Louvre & the Louvre Shops
Dinner Au Petite Riche

Day 2

*my favorite day*
Morning workout at the hotel gym
Orsay Museum - my personal favorite of all
Explore Montmarte neighborhood- lunch, coffee, shopping & walking through the neighborhood and then walking all the way back to our hotel
Eiffel Tower we arrived after the sunset with a bottle of champagne and had the entire park to ourselves and lucked out arriving at the top of the hour for the lightshow
Dinner at Glou

Day 3

Notre Dame
Saint Chapelle
Explore Île Saint-Louis
Explore the Jewish Ghetto - shops, stopped for coffee & pastries and simply wandered the streets...absolute perfection
Sunset at the Eiffel Tower (this time we viewed it from across the way at the Trocadero which is a great place for sunset views)

Dinner at 

The only thing I would have changed about our stay was for it to be a little longer, I would have taken one day less in Rome to have one more day in Paris. A truly magnificent city.

 

xo - margaret

 

 

Destination Maui

November 22, 2016

This year was seriously the year of weddings. It was one after another, after another...and I must say that I absolutely loved it! Thankfully our friends either live in some pretty awesome places, and/or chose even better places for destination weddings. Case in point, our friends who chose to have their destination wedding in Maui. I mean, twist my arm, I guess we can make it!

Hawaii has been on both mine and my husband's list for years, and it was even more beautiful that I could have imagined. I can see what everyone has been raving about all these years - it's truly a magical place. The surf, the sand, the weather, the breathtaking landscape and the food...oh man the food, so, so good! 

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm breeze and sunny skies and after a quick ride over to our hotel we pretty quickly decided that we didn't ever want to leave. We stayed at the Andaz which I would HIGHLY recommend. This property is stunning. As soon as we arrived we felt at home - were welcomed with cocktails, cool towels and leis as we were escorted to the beach sand lobby check-in area. After a long flight it was exactly what the doctor ordered. The resort itself is the utmost in luxury with breathtaking views, swanky pools, impeccable architecture and breezy beach styled rooms with tech creature comforts like automatic blinds, music and lighting. 

Most of all I loved the restaurants on site, nightly live music, pool-side cocktails and snacks, the gift and spa shop (which were both dangerously good) and the large, well-equipped fitness center. Plus the property had it's own private beach area, which I learned from some of our friend's resorts wasn't quite as common as I thought, with towel and drink service...plus excellent off shore snorkeling, SUP and kayaking (all included in the rates). And did I mention the complimentary shuttle service?! Total lifesaver for rides to and from beaches, shops and restaurants.

The Andaz was definitely worth the splurge and completely spoiled us each and every day. 

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Maui, Hawaii

We did end up renting a Jeep Wrangler for part of our stay so that we could explore the island and get to and from our zip lining and helicopter adventures that we had planned. Although we didn't need the Jeep the entire trip, it was certainly nice to have for a few days of top-down driving adventures. Definitely made me miss my Jeep, which was one of my very first cars. 

For ziplining there were quite a few different options, but our destination wedding group made it easy for us and they selected Pi'iholo Ranch - which was spot on. The ranch is located just outside of Haiku Pauwela (which I would suggest stopping in for some shopping & a bite to eat) and it's absolutely beautiful. There are a variety of options for your tour, and ours featured 5 zips through tree-tops overlooking the rainforest and ocean views. I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was. Such a great way to spend the day.

Next up for adventure was our helicopter tour of the entire island with Blue Hawaiin Helicopters, which was my personal favorite. You simply cannot go to Hawaii and not take a helicopter tour, especially if you are on a shorter trip like we were. It was the best way for us to see the entire island, rural towns, the rainforest, volcano and amazing waterfalls. I am pretty sure my jaw was on the floor the entire time. You can check out some videos on my intsa page to get a taste of what you are in for.

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Maui, Hawaii

The rest of our trip was filled with wedding festivities for two of our dearest friends, pool & beach days with friends, shopping, sipping cocktails, enjoying delicious food and sneaking in as much time together as possible. We also got in a few really good works with morning runs and walks on the beach and some HIIT workouts our trainer set up for us before we left which made me very happy.

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Maui, Hawaii

All in all, one of my favorite vacations in one of the most beautiful tropical destinations I have seen to date. Don't worry...I will keep searching for others.

Happy Travels.

xo - margaret

 

 

 

 

Chicago Rewind

October 24, 2016

Last week we traveled to Chicago for a wedding and made a long weekend of it. 

The last time we visited the city it was in the dead of winter, and to say it was cold would be an understatement. This coming from a gal who lives in Maine...so I know my cold weather, and that wind in Chicago will chill you to the bone. So, this time, with unseasonably warm weather we were beyond excited to explore everything outdoors! It actually worked well because on our last trip we hit all the indoor sights like museums, Willis Tower Sky Deck, John Hancock Observatory and lots of yummy bars & restaurants. 

This time we decided to make the most of the outdoors, so once we settled into our hotel, The Kimpton Gray, (who spoiled us with a room upgrade, welcome bottle of champagne, cheese & chocolates) we were off!

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Chicago

We made the most of the 70-degree weather walking from place to place and happened to be in town just in time for The Chicago Architecture Foundation's 'Open House Chicago' which enabled us to see some pretty amazing buildings and locations not usually open to the public. We of course also hit Millenium Park, the bean, shops and my personal favorite the Architectural Tour aboard the Chicago's First Lady.

In addition, we indulged in some pretty darn delicious food (favorites were BavettesGoddess & the Baker and The Gage), cocktails (Cindy's Rooftop is hard to beat) & coffee (loved Intelligentsia) balanced out by some workouts at Soul Cycle and dancing our butts off at the wedding. 

To say it was a good weekend would be an understatement - we had an absolute blast! Here are some of my favorite snaps from our stay.

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Chicago

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Chicago

5th & Magnolia | Travel | Chicago

Have you traveled to Chicago? What are some of your favorites in the Windy City?

 

xo - margaret