Italy’s hidden vacation gem: Bordighera on the Ligurian Riviera.

Italy is hard to beat, and trust me, I’ve challenged her often over the years. From amazing trips down the Amazon and through the Northwest Passage, each trip has been extraordinary in it’s own way, but let’s face it; Italy just has the goods. Miles of idyllic coastline, beautiful people, amazing food, and it’s lousy with art and culture.

While I’ve made it a life ambition to suss out the best the boot has to offer, I am always amazed when I find a new, untapped corner of Italy that blows my mind. This last summer, I was fortunate enough to squeeze myself back to the motherland to explore, virtually without tourists which was a delicious feat all upon itself, and discover a new region that has quickly become my favorite; the pearl of the riviera ponente, Bordighera.

Located walking distance from France, this is the veritable last stop before you hit the best the south of France has to offer. Nice, Monaco, Cannes, yes you know these places, and if you know them then you know how over crowded and expensive they can be. Enter Bordighera, which has all the beauty and sublime riviera culture that its neighbors have, but with none of the pomp and currency.

This little seascape town was made famous in a very fitting way; through a cheesy romance novel published in the mid 1800’s. “Dottore Antonio” which featured a savory, Italian doctor that took good care of a travelling well to do northerner, sold like a JK Rowlings novel in the UK, and soon Brits were flocking down south to this unknown town and making it their own. They brought with them Tennis and their other well developed skill, gardening, and the area quickly because the flower capital of the world. Not soon after a botanist, Clarence Bicknell opened a research center, and had scores of rare trees and flowers growing in this sleepy little town. To this day you can see the sweeping effect of this imported passion, as the streets are lined with flowers of all colors and generis, and the Bicknell museum still houses some of the world’s rarest trees in the world.

While all this sets up a nice backdrop, the real shine of the town is in it’s location. Perfectly situated on the Ligurian coast where the Alps meet the sea, the potential for doing anything in the wild is at its maximum. Here you have the clearest, azure water you have ever seen, beautiful mountain villages full of waterfalls and swimming holes, and in between, vineyards producing some of the most exciting grape around. Perhaps the best part about this all is how relatively unknown this corner of Italy is, with travellers opting for the overrun Cinque-Terre and not venturing the extra hour west to discover untapped paradise. Just peep for yourself.

The long week we spent there went far too quickly, but our host, Nicola who is the owner of the family run Gold Hotel, made sure we saw the best of the best while we were there. The days we spent eating and swimming at the Kursaal beach club, with afternoon adventures in nearby villages, either riding horses in mountain streams, swimming in alpine waterfalls, or wine tasting on the medieval streets of Dolceacqua. Look, to make it easy here is a list of must-do’s while in Bordighera:

Gold Hotel: Where I stayed. Perfectly located, beautiful property, run by an amazing family that really brings you into their world. https://www.bordigheragoldhotel.com/

Discoveriviera: they delivered the bikes right to the hotel and picked them up too. Best e-bike experience yet (they also do food and wine tours which look amazing) https://discoveriviera.com/

Dream Ranch: Elisa Orengo’s working ranch is a stunner with a great story behind it… she’s amazing, and the horseback tours are second to none. https://www.instagram.com/the_dream_r…

Gymnastics: Marco Pons is a gem. He kept us fit during our stay so we could truly enjoy all that pasta;) Private training right at the hotel was epic. https://www.instagram.com/fitnesscoac…

Woodworking: Aurelia Rezoagli is the Caravaggio of wood … if you go to Dolceacqua you have to seek him out. If you’re lucky, you may even take a class from him. https://www.facebook.com/aurelio.rezo…

Wine Tasting: While you can drink wine everywhere in Bordighera, experiencing it on the medieval streets with Marco Barile brings it to a whole other level of enjoyment. https://www.ascariwine.com/

Tour Guide: I highly suggest taking a walking tour of Bordighera, not only is it lovely to explore the streets on foot, but there is so much interesting history you would never pick up on without an expert, and Simona Gibertini is just that. Contact Nicola at the Gold Hotel for the hookup;) https://www.dolcevitaliguria.com/engl…

Beach Club Kursaal: We spent most of our time in the good hands of Kursaal, the best beach club on the Riviera … every lunch there was a dream, cold local white wine, fresh pastas, amazing service. A vacation within a vacation. https://www.facebook.com/kursaalclubb…

well, all I can say is that it went far too quickly and I already can’t wait for our return. Thank you Nicola for an amazing trip, and showing us this amazing pocket of paradise I had never explored before.

My first trip since COVID, Denver, Colorado, and … wow. Just wow.

Let’s get this out of the way: it is still dangerous to travel, and if you don’t have to, then don’t put yourself, and more importantly others at risk.

While everyone is hurting, and tourist destinations especially feeling the brunt of this lock down, it is a double edged sword to even mention tourism these days. Yes, the economy is important for people to survive, but so is their health. That said, what I found in Denver was inspiring; everyone very conscious of the world condition and doing their absolute best to minimize risk, while still being able to offer access to this amazing city. Open air electric tour busses, timed museum tickets, and tons of fantastic outdoor dining all offer some protection that allow tourism to happen safely.

Denver, the city with the least oxygen but the most love in the continental United States is definitely a magical place. I recently got to explore this and a few other Colorado gems, so lets get to the highlights.

First we descended upon the prim and polished Cherry Creek neighborhood which is full of shopping, fun eats, and our hotel, the Moxy.
This hip little Marriott owned boutique play-and-stay is a faithful rendition of your favorite hipster hotel right down to the reproduction vintage phot booth in the lobby.

One thing that you’ll notice (but not remember) is that the check in desk is actually the bar, a feature that I suggest be standardized in all hotels, and DMV locations. You immediately get that Denver is a beer town as the hotel is attached to a beer garden, you get beers in the elevator, and even beers waiting in the room for you. The rooms are cool and modern, with great views and great loo’s. There is a definite nod to being funky fun,
from the bath product, to the verbiage and even the funky windows. It’s a functionally smart hotel that makes maximum use of it’s minimal footprint with a surprisingly ingenious array of furnishing trickery.

Overall we were super comfortable in our new lil’ home but it was time to explore this cool city, so we headed to the famed Union Station in the heart of downtown Denver. Truly a charming and stylish building inside it’s art deco / beaux arts beauty will impress you making it a great place to chill out or check out the fun and funky art. One fun fact is that there used to be a great big arch at the entrance that said Mizpah, or welcome in Hebrew, and while the arch is no longer with us, Union Station now has Snooze, a must brunch place for anyone visiting Denver.

In this colorful-retro-casual brunch hot-spot you will find long waits for one of their coveted outdoor tables, and for good reason. The breakfast here is an event from their decadent flavor bomb pancakes to their elaborate savory eggs benny which require, for health reasons, one of their loaded Bloody Mary’s to make it all go down right.

Completely stuffed, we decided to be carted around in style while not leaving even one carbon footprint. Introducing ETUK Denver’s premiere fully environmentally friendly tour company sponsored by Bud Light Selzer which is White Claw for people with day jobs. These Denver made, fully electric Tuks come with heated seats and fantastic views of the city. In no time we were whipping around downtown taking in all the sites as our guide pointed out some of the finer features Denver had to offer, like the Cherry Creek pedestrian bridge perfect for morning runs, the decadent Cruise Room located in the Oxford Hotel, the lovely Larimar pedestrian mall and the opulent Performing Arts Center, which proudly showcases two giant Botero sculptures (which are miniscule compared to Denver’s giant blue peeping tom bear who’s origin story is so long winded and wildly convoluted I wont bore you with it but look it up).

Then across the street from a legendary house of ill repute, we got to adventure into the Brown palace. Despite a very unfortunate name, the Brown Palace is a very cool place to take in, with a simply cavernous atrium that will leave you spellbound. Denver’s old world origin charm drips from the walls to the floors here as you can see in every aspect of the lobby’s attention to architectural detail meant to impress even the most snobby of Easterners. Here’s a pro tip: head up to the top floor to get an entirely different view of the Brown Palace and test to see if your brunch at Snooze is still in your stomach. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the palace is its water fountain, where you can drink, get this, actual Denver artesian water from the original 1892 well dug 750 feet below the hotel. That’s something.

Leaving the old-school charm of downtown Denver we popped over to the River North or hip RiNo district famed for it’s abundant world class street art and super hobo-chic restaurants and cafe’s. A trip to RiNo isn’t complete I’m told without hitting up the Denver Central Market which is located in a beautiful reclaimed warehouse. Chuck full of anything you could possibly want to eat or drink, this is a great place to explore and even throw back a few before picking something up for dinner. Don’t forget dessert either. I mean look at these things! Do you eat them or wear them?

From RiNo We headed cross the Platte River to the hip Highland district, which has some very photogenic spots, like Happy Camper,
which is like an Instagram post that serves food. With its giant disco ball, garden nooks, and dripping bokeh it’s hard not to get a bunch of likes. There is also little man ice cream, which besides mixing up the craziest flavors, is housed in the largest milk pail I’ve ever seen. Photo ops aside we were here for lunch and to check out Avanti which is a collective eatery.

What’s a collective eatery you ask?

Well its like you die and go to comfort food heaven. This place is a foodies paradise, with amazing dishes from around the world to make it super easy to forget about your diet. Add in a killer space with lots of seating both indoor and out to nosh on you new favorite nibbles and you got it made. South American arepas, Kimchi scallion pancakes and Southern spicy fried chicken all washed down with local amazing beer will definitely satisfy.

Full on good eats, we decided to take in some culture at Denver’s world class art museum. This institution boasts some of the most outrageous exhibitions, this one was called simply Light which allowed for some
amazing artist interpretations of what light means to them. From Keith herring triptychs to skull riding cryptic this was a visual wonderland that gave good cause for Colorado’s stance on legal mamajuana. Minds properly blown it was time to take a quick trip out of the city to visit the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is by far the most
beautiful naturally occurring theater I’ve ever seen in my life. When not rocking out, locals use this breathtaking location as a giant gym. Try
that at Madison Square Garden.

It is a truly stunning place that will simply take your breath away, so unique and majestic, and when you consider its just a 20 minutes drive from downtown, it’s a no brainer to fit it into your itinerary.

As the sun set on the queen city of the plains, we submerged ourselves once more into downtown for dinner. Sure you could keep it low key and hit up Duffy’s Cherry Cricket who’s no frills charm is overturned by their delicious burgers and boozy milkshakes but we decided to class it up a bit and check out Rioja on Larimer. This class act of fine dining is one of the best restaurants to experience Denver’s cultured cuisine.

From delicate amuse bouche, to savory pork belly appetizers, and perfectly grilled Colorado rack of lamb to decadent deserts this my friends is the perfect way to end a perfect trip to the great city of Denver Colorado. Onward onto Telluride, possibly the best place to visit during COVID!


Rs

How I Became a Travel Host.

 

Last summer Brad Stuart and I got the chance to travel around the world and make films for WOW Air, having won their global TravelGuide Contest. It was a surreal experience, somehow being chosen from over 30,000 incredible entries, and learning how to produce a full travel program on the road with just two people.

We produced over 110 films in just three months, all while traveling, which pushed us nearly to the limit of exhaustion. The funny thing about doing what you love, you never realize how truly spent you are until you stop.

Coming back there was a lot to process and learn from, and share as well. Lots of people have had questions like how did we win the contest, or what’s the best way to travel like a travel writerhow did we plan our travel vlog, or just how the experience was. This week I sat down with the good people at The Points Guy and answered some of these questions, which you can read on their site, or down below in an extended interview.

A TPG Reader Dishes on Winning WOW air’s ‘Dream Job’ Travel Contest

— As much as the gig was touted as a “dream job,” having to uproot your life for three months and step away from your daily paid work couldn’t have been an easy decision. Was there one particular aspect of the opportunity, or one thing you were hoping to get out of it, that ultimately led you to decide to go for it?
Accepting to do the project was definitely was a decision we had to think hard about. We realized that being gone for three months without working and still having to cover the cost of our apartments in NYC was going to eat up any per diem WOW was offering us. So from the start we realized we needed to really make this project something special, perhaps much bigger then WOW was expecting. We knew we had to create a diverse library of quality content that could really show our potential as travel content creators. The fact that WOW was letting us have complete control over what we produced and how we produced it meant we could make this project as dynamic as we wanted to, so the opportunity to do what we love the way we wanted to for a brand like WOW was definitely the main draw.
— What sort of training, if any, did you get for the “job?” Did you meet a lot of the WOW Air team in person and go over strategy, or did you just sort of get thrown in the deep end and go?
It was nothing less than freighting how much they trusted us, but also extremely liberating and rewarding. After a casual conversation on the phone with the head of their marketing department we were on a plane to go live in Reykjavik for the summer. We went to their offices, met briefly with Skuli the owner of the company who seemed really excited to have us there, and then they gave us the login information for their youtube, instagram and website and told us to go make some fun stuff. There was no review process or any real brand guidelines which, working in advertising, was absolutely petrifying, but again, liberating. Being able to fully control production from beginning to end was what made this experience exceptional for us. We worked together on what cities we wanted to cover, they set up flights and hotels, and the rest of the job was up to us. 
— How hands-on was the WOW team in terms of what you posted? In terms of determining what you wanted to cover in each city, did they have specific ideas in mind, was that all up to you, or was it somewhere in between? 
They chose 4 cities and we chose the rest, other then that they were completely open to whatever we wanted to cover, which I think was the purpose of the whole contest. They wanted real travelers to explore cities and get others excited about travel, which is exactly what we believed in. We didn’t want to make content that was just another voice in the echo of travel videos already out there online. There is this dangerous cycle that happens, where influencers and influential sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp will only send tourists to the “top 10” places in any one city, and then those people end up writing only reviews about the top 10 places, artificially inflating their importance and value. Whatever was the original experience that made it great cannot be sustained, since its just flooded continually with tourists, and it eventually loses all it’s local vibe. So we felt a responsibility to do the work and discover experiences that were lesser know but just as magical. In order to do so we would check the obvious resources like Conde Nast, Lonely Planet, Thrillist and even Atlas Obscura to see what each city had to offer, but then used WOW’s extensive social media platform to talk directly with our audience, which was the key to finding true hidden gems. We would ask locals where they go on a Thursday night to eat, or on a Monday to drink, and got some amazing suggestions that were largely unknown to foreigners and were truly local. While we covered some well known places that had a big draw, sharing these lesser known places was a way to ensure our audience could get an authentic experience that wasn’t blogged to death about online. There is nothing worse then going somewhere new and already feeling like you’ve been there because you’ve seen it so many times online. 
— What was the biggest challenge you faced in dealing with the company? What about from a personal level of having a limited amount of time to shoot a lot of footage: what was the biggest challenge there for you.
WOW was a pretty great partner; they didn’t demand anything from us that we weren’t willing to provide, and in the end got a lot more then they were expecting. For the most part they let us do our thing and manage our time as we needed. Any pressure we felt came from us driving ourselves to produce dynamic content. We ended up making well over 100 films for 10 cities around the world in just under three months, which was insane, but the experience of learning how to produce so many segments efficiently is something that will definitely benefit us in future projects. 
— In what way(s) did the experience most exceed your expectations?
What was most exceptional was being able to do what you love with a best friend. I think we often forget how lucky we are to be living at this time in history, and just being able to travel, make film, and lifelong memories with a friend is the real prize in all this, not to get to Hallmark Card or anything. I didn’t expect it to be so rewarding in that sense, even when we were exhausted from being up all night editing, or having walked 30 miles with a backpack of gear through a city all day, it was that feeling of accomplishing something difficult for something you really love doing that is the perfect recipe for honest fulfillment. 
— What about the opposite end of that question: Were there certain aspects that proved to be particularly challenging or time-consuming? Any aspect of the process that, if given a second chance, you’d try a different way?
Laundry. Do you know that there is not a single laundromat in all of Reykjavik? Not one. I live in NYC and there are TWO, read that, TWO just in my building. Where the hell do these people wash their clothes? We didn’t have one in our little apartment, so we ended up having to wash everything in the tub with a broken broom stick like it was 1926. Joking aside, it was a rough start for sure. We took too much equipment, and didn’t have a working strategy on how to plan our trips efficiently, but what was truly amazing is how streamlined the process eventually became from the experience of working through it. We realized what gear we really needed, how to plan our day efficiently, how to contact places and people to schedule our day, and how to edit everything and deliver, and still have time to throw a few back at Pablo Discobar before the sun set. That’s a joke because the sun doesn’t set in Reykjavik in the summer. 
— If rating the experience from 1 to 10, 10 being the best, where would it fall? 
26. Honestly. It was the most difficult thing I think either one of us ever tried to do, but because it was something we were really passionate about and loved doing it pushed us to the edge, and there we found nirvana. It was unlike any other experience I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t of traded it for the world. I think what it gave us was well beyond the gift of travel, just merely visiting these cities, which was wonderful. It really taught us how to produce, and how to turn something we really love into something tangible and we can share. 
— Knowing things now that you didn’t know then: Are there questions you’d advise other people applying for similar travel dream jobs like this to ask of the  company providing the tip?
Make sure you really know what you’re getting into and what you want to get out of it, and make sure you communicate that clearly. Companies will dress up free work as a contest, which isn’t to say it can’t be mutually beneficial, but make sure you know the terms and contractual agreements before agreeing to anything. For us it was important that we could use all this work that we were doing to build off of, and banked on the exposure to do similar projects for other brands in the future. Also always ask if there is a place to do laundry nearby. 
— Would you recommend similar experiences to other people? Do you think there’s a certain personality type that’s best-suited for this kind of adventure?
Obviously anyone looking for adventure, loves to travel and make films are prime suspects for a good candidate, but being a good, self-motivated producer will definitely help you get the most out of the experience.  Knowing how to approach people and businesses so they would welcome us and our cameras was key for the success of the project, and as the summer went on we got better at opening doors. We set up private tours of museums, and got access to people and places that would be totally off limits to the average tourist, which made the experiences unique and profound, and in turn elevated the quality of the films from just average travel vlogs to actual curated segments. As an example we shot an entire film about Nobelhart & Schmutzig, a Michelin starred restaurant in Berlin that doesn’t allow cameras inside, so it was a real honor to tell their amazing story, not to mention one of the best meals we’ve ever had. We basically made these experiences happen for us, so the better you are at making your reality the more you’re going to get out of a project like this.
— Were you at all aware that the company was so close to ceasing operations? Were there any signs of strain or inklings about what was to come for the company?
Can’t really say we could, no. At the time they were a fluid, virile company that was forward thinking enough to send two travel maniacs around the world to make films for them. From an advertising standpoint the contest was a genius move. There is a trend happening now where brands will go direct to content creators and influencers to produce media for them, instead of working with a traditional agency, and for someone that works in advertising I really wanted to find out what was the potential of this type of work, and how far we could push the limits. It was a novel approach to a summer ad campaign and the idea was that they were going to keep the Travel Guide website up forever and have new guides each year go to new destinations. It was a fantastic concept, and I think really had the potential to connect with their consumers base.  
— If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you?
In a heartbeat, but in reality, we never really stopped. We may not be creating content for WOW but we’re constantly making new content to continually grow our own brand and channel. We’re just super thankful that we had the opportunity to do so much fun work with them while they were in business, and will definitely miss the fun little airline that did things a bit differently. 

The Smallest Film Festival with the Biggest Heart.

Frank Zagottis is a fun guy. A Queens local, he’s got this nice house off Newtown Road right in the heart of Astoria. Like most locals, his parents were immigrants, his father came to this country as a tailor, and spent his life fitting clothes to support his family. Now Frank is giving back a bit, in his own way, and keeping his neighborhood friendly.

For years each summer Frank will hang a large white sheet that his own father sew over the back of his house, set up a little projector on an aluminum stepladder and invite anyone that wishes to come by to watch a classic Hollywood movie. He serves up snacks, puts out chairs, and doesn’t charge a thing. It doesn’t get more cozy then this.

When you live in a city of steel and stone like New York, it can be very easy to be beat down by the grind, and to forget that humanity exists. It’s people like Frank with his Newtown Road Backyard Film Festival that make us remember that we’re really all neighbors sharing one big backyard. Thanks Frank, you truly are a good guy.

Rs

 

The Little Nell

One of the most premiere and exquisite resorts in the world is located in the little Colorado mountain town of Aspen. The Little Nell has a fantastic history to it, and is at its core the heart of the Aspen community. It is also one of the most luxurious and expensive resorts in the world. I got to stay there one perfect winter weekend and I quickly experienced why the Little Nell was big on exclusive opulence.

 

 

a safari with a mutual happy ending.

Not that kind of happy ending. Although, it kinda is, but the happy ending is a hand job for a country that severely needs release.

Too early for a hand job metaphor?

So … segue … 

This is Symbi Safari. The Symbi stands for Symbiotic (one of my favorite words right behind homunculus and catholic with a lower c). Symbi is the genius idea from two amazing guys Danny Noval and Kirk Summers. The idea is that an African safari should work in tandem with nature. This means a few things:

• Ecologically conscious building materials and transportation. Think Euell Gibbons meets Tesla.
• Fair wages and education for the locals who work the safari. Think Rosie the Riveter  meets Obama.
• Protecting the wildlife and the environment. Think Jane Goodall meets Twelve Monkeys.

Twelve_monkeys

Jane Goodall meets Twelve Monkeys? Hello?! Hollywood? Are you reading this?

Continuing on…

What I didn’t consciously realize was that safaris could be so cancerous to their environment, ironic since it’s the environment that they are celebrating, but they can be truly awful. Pollution, garbage, and extremely poor working conditions can make them some of the most vile businesses out there.

Danny and Kirk have a different idea, which could only come out of two award-winning New York creative directors. It’s about upping the safari game a bit, adding a bit of style and sophistication, while doing what’s right, so you can really feel good about seeing one of nature’s most amazing gifts.

Of course the other safari’s probably aren’t happy about them paying their people and honest wage, and giving them basic worker’s rights and benefits that we take for granted here, but are non-existent in developing nations. Basically they don’t want anyone rocking the boat, so it’s gonna get like West Side Story over in the jungle in a second.

So, like any other good, socially conscious, media savvy creatives they started an indigogo campaign to help get this fab idea off the ground. They have some important people backing them already, the materials and personnel in place, and a *KILLER PROMOTIONAL VIDEO THAT WILL MAKE MINDS EXPLODE. 

They just need some cash to pull the trigger.

If you don’t like to kill elephants for their teeth, or to steal hungry people’s food, or if you hate genocide, or if you hate setting kittens on fire, then you should donate a few bucks because if you don’t you’re basically adding to the problem.  

Advertising rule #1: Sex sells, but guilt donates.

In all seriousness, this is a no brainer. It’s a fabulous concept, that should be the norm, and it’s taking an enormous amount of testicular fortitude to try to change a damaged system that’s been in place for over a hundred years. This is real change, and in the best way possible.

Good luck guys. No one messes with Brooklyn!

Rs

*Full disclosure: I made the video for them. pro bono. Because it really was for the good of the people, the definition of pro bono publico. Pro bono is my 4th favorite word out there btw.

phuket, I’m outta here.

Finally. Paradise.

Met the girl at the airport. I love moments like these. They are so very rare. Travelling for me has always been a solitary activity. Perhaps being an only child with flight benefits from a very early age made me love to go forth with reckless and lonely abandon. I love travelling alone; it’s really the best way to discover a new place. It forces you in many cases to get into the sort of good trouble that you wouldn’t normally within the comforts of a familiar partner. I suggest it to any wayward college age kid to buy a ticket and just go. It’s kinda the same advice I give people who want to get into film; pick up a camera and shoot. Hemingway once said “The secret to life is living. It’s just that simple.” Alright, I’m not sure if Hemingway ever said that, but it is certainly possible. It sounds like him and there are no adjectives, so, yeah.

While travelling alone is a magic way to discover yourself, it is also not surprisingly the only real way to get to know a person which is why I was very excited see my girl on the literal other side of the world. Here we were two new animals, unclassified from the concrete jungle that normally defines us. It’s like the Hunger Games IRL. (I called Katness if anyone is wondering.)

Let the games begin!

We spent a mere few hours in Bangkok, cruising the airport terminal amazed that they had a Boots of all things for us to pursue (no sausage rolls, damn you Bangkok). We then hopped a short flight to Phuket, gateway to Thai Island Paradise. Hopping a snazzy cab in Phuket we made our way to the Indigo Pearl, which to me sounded more like a Battlestar Galactica spaceship then a hotel, and, I came to find out, t’was. I can’t really say enough about the Indigo Pearl. It’s the kinda place that can only exist in a generally lawless and beautiful country like Thailand. The resort rivals most small towns in it’s mere size. The lobby wasn’t so much a lobby as it was a port for people. Open and vast, dark wood and pretty blue jewels and everything with a steampunk edge. Built on an old Tin Mine (c’mon, that’s awesome) every corner of this luxury resort linked back to its roots with an industrial flair. Tin I-Beams holding up thatched roof, comically large industrial valves for faucets, and even wrench and screwdriver silverware in the restaurant. This place was a designers wet dream, and a welcomed sight to a guy who has been in the bush for ten days.

 

You need provisions to go from the check in desk to the concierge desk.
You need provisions to go from the check in desk to the concierge desk.

 

Taking a private golf cart to our room (is there anything other than a private golf cart I have to ask?) my jaw was open most of the way; a giant stretch of pools, restaurants and bars as far as the eye could see. Grounds so immaculate and imposing you thought a gay Druid wedding planner was given free reign to do his worst. It was, from an architectural standpoint, inspiring.

Then the room completed the dopeness.

Wood, and concrete, and tin. Glass and rock and fauna. Huge Ghengis Kong-esque bathroom doors that any father would feel epic behind for a morning ritual. It was wild. And then… the balcony. Can you call it a balcony when there is a huge two person onyx tub on it? No, I didn’t think you could. We’ll, when I asked Miranda if she wouldn’t mind booking the hotels for our leg of the trip I had no doubt that this creative director/producer would come through. I just didn’t know she was gonna make me question if she should have become a private concierge for the rich and famous.

This was an exquisite treat, and we could have easily spent a week there in happy solitude. We decided to slide out to the beach and see what southern Thailand had to offer. Bathtub waters, orgasmic sunsets, stiff cheap drinks, and basically paradise on earth was the answer.

It was a fine first day, fine indeed.