Posts Tagged SPG

Cotton House Barcelona

Fashion comes and goes, but style is eternal… This statement couldn’t be more visible when we stayed at the Cotton House Autograph Collection hotel in Barcelona.  Everything about it spoke of old-world wealth and beauty.  We loved that it was so central in the city, but at the same time you could find peace within its walls whenever you need a break from the outside world.  We loved every single detail the hotel team had put their attention to, down to the cotton blooms you’ll find in your room and even bathrooms.

Before it was a hotel, it used to house the Cotton Textile Foundation, until it started an intense refurbishment in 2015 that leads to the beauty that it is today.  It’s surprising and inspiring how the interior designers were able to keep and retain so many original elements from the 19th century neoclassical building.  If you want to know more about the history of the Cotton House Hotel, click here

Anchored Away in Cancun

Towards the end of last year, my husband and I (I’m still not used to calling him that) decided to go on a relaxing trip to Cancun.  In case you didn’t already know, Cancun is best to visit in the months of December to February, when the country experiences milder temperatures thanks to the cold winds of the North.  This being their peak season, we dreaded flocks of tourists so we decided to avoid that by going just a bit earlier.  And our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
One of the many reasons we chose Cancun to holiday in is because it’s undeniably close to the United States.  If we can’t go back to the pristine beaches of Asia, where else could we turn to?  From L.A. we took a direct flight to Cancun, which took about 4 hours and under $300 for a return ticket.  Not bad eh?  And then we landed here.     Luckily because we came at the end of November, we didn’t have to face a crowded island and rub shoulders with other tourists.  There was plenty of space and privacy, it almost felt like the resort was all ours.  We stayed at the Marriott Casa Magna Cancun using our SPG points and we think we made the best choice, because we loved the colonial style architecture and the spaciousness of the resort (compared to the JW Marriott next door).  Going to Cancun cannot be complete without visiting one of the seven wonders of the world.  The Chichen Itza, the world renowned historical city which dates back to 600 AD, was an amazing sight to see.  Walking through the grounds felt different, or at least to me I imagined what it must have been like to live there in that era.
And while you’re in the Yucatan Peninsula, I highly recommend dipping yourself in one of the mysterious cenotes.  The cenotes are natural sinkholes that could be deeper than 60 meters or comparably like a 20 to 30 floor building.  It’s so deep that when you look below all you’ll see is an abyss – dark, mysterious, and scary.  Naturally, the water is cold and will make you shiver on your first dip, but feels very refreshing on a warm summer day.  In the photo below you’ll see all of us wearing life jackets because it’s a requirement. The depth of the hole is not to be joked about.  One good thing I took away from this trip was I learned the Mexican way of appreciating life as it is, and to enjoy the art of doing nothing.  Though we explored the city, we put aside a lot of time to just relax by the beach, play in the pool, or enjoy a good meal.  It gave me a relaxed and peaceful feeling which felt like something I hadn’t felt for a long while.  I’m the type of person who can’t stand sitting by the beach all day – although some people really enjoy doing that, I never understood what good came out of it.  So I can almost say it felt like my first time to go on a holiday.

11 Howard

Over the weekend we flew to New York on a spontaneous trip for my birthday.  My love wanted me to choose a hotel, and we ended up staying at this nice boutique hotel that’s tied up with SPG.  11 Howard is situated right in the heart of Soho, just a stone’s throw from Manhattan’s Chinatown and Little Italy, as well as some other less touristy streets where good food can be found.

The moment we entered, I knew we made a good choice to try a different kind of hotel.  The doormen were wearing white Chinese collared shirts with dark cropped pants and dark loafers.  Not only that, some of them had hairstyles that looked like it came out of a stylish men’s magazine, and one or two could even pass as male models.  But aside from the people, the overall aesthetics was just a good change from the typical hotel.  There were no reception tables where a person stands behind the counter, just a round table in the middle of the lobby where there were two tablets to facilitate check in.  Similarly, you could find a tablet in your room that lets you request any service you might need to make your stay more comfortable.

When we entered the room, we were greeted with some welcome drinks, as well as a nice pack of gummy bears and chocolates.  And shortly after plopping onto the bed, a knock came from one of the crew with a cake and a handwritten note from the team.  All throughout our stay, the staff were always welcoming and helpful every time we passed through the building.  It’s these little details that make you feel you’re treated well, just how you’d like to be treated when you’re on vacation.
minimalist library Boutique hotel 11 Howard Hotel

By the way, this is not a paid ad, just sharing my unbiased customer experience from this hotel. 🙂

Location: 11 Howard St, New York, NY 10013