[MOLTIG-LES-BAINS, FRANCE] — So, here I was last April sitting in Skoura, an oasis town in Morocco, and I had to make a choice. Fed up with my stupid job, I’d quit and left for a little sabbatical for a month in Portugal and Morocco. My plane to the States left the next day, but I wasn’t ready to go back. So I cancelled it. I flew back to Barcelona, walked up to the Hertz desk and asked “Can I rent a car for a long time? Like two months?” “Si!” So they hooked me up with a sweet little upgraded BMV and I headed towards the Pyrénées. I had no plans, no goals; just no big cities, only small towns. Places I’d never been. My compass
[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY] — The first time I tried to book a room, I got an email back from Jose, the owner, saying “There is no luxury in Jose Ignacio, the roads are unpaved, there is no ATM. We are just a small place and also not a luxury hotel. There is no restaurant, no room service and no gym.” That’s when I knew I had to go there. And I’ve been coming back ever since. Posada del Faro is one of my go-to places. I’ve been five times now and each time it is like coming back home. It’s a small place and one of the few hotels in Jose Ignacio. Just a handful of rooms, it books up early and often, and nearly impossible to get into
[SKOURA, MOROCCO] — “Welcome to Dar Ahlam. Our goal is to redefine the hotel experience. There is no Reception. No restaurant. No keys. No hours. No menus. No itinerary. Just surprises. When you are hungry, just show up at any time and we will take you to a different place we’ve arranged for you.” And that is how it started. And that’s how I was introduced by “Flo” (Florent) who runs the very remote and very exclusive Dar Ahlam kasbah in the oasis town of Skoura, in southern Morocco. Okay, this trip….ummmm, I really splashed out on…because it is the Sahara and what better place to go all-in? And Abercrombie & Kent is the one to go with, they arranged everything, from pickup at the airport
[MARRAKESH, MOROCCO] — It was midnight on a full moon in Marrakesh. A late flight from Barcelona after transferring from Casablanca. The driver pulls over on a very busy, unremarkable street, next to a gas station, an LP gas depot and about the world’s most frenetic bus stop and taxi stand, drivers wailing and waving, engines gunning. Everyone looked to be in charge. Buses, trucks and loud scooters screamed by, drowning out the shouts of the cab stand. The van stopped in the middle of the street and the door swung open. A nondescript wood door lay before me; no sign, no grand entrance, just two guys in muted brown tunics. “This is it?” I asked. “It’s Marrakesh, there’s always a surprise behind the doors.
[RAVELLO, ITALY] –– Years ago I finally realized what I really like: cliffs, overlooking a distant ocean, preferably with a pool clinging to a steep hillside. From then on, it’s been my focus on choosing where I go on vacation. (You’ll see this as a common theme throughout this site!) Palazzo Avino fits all of those criteria. Plus, small, quiet and really expensive. After a recent remodel, it is on almost every Top Ten list of all hotels in the world. They have some rock star-great rooms and terraces, with prices to match. Sitting high on a hilltop in Ravello, dubbed one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, sits Palazzo Avino. When I was there in ’04 it was called Palazzo Sasso, also famous in its own right.
[POSITANO, ITALY] — If you’ve never been to Le Sirenuse in Positano, put it on your list. One of the best, and best-run, hotels in the world. Nothing compares to sitting in the grandstands (the pool) overlooking one of the prettiest views in the world. A cascade of villas, hotels and restaurants tumbling down to the sea. That’s why it is #1 on my World’s Best Pools List. And why the hotel itself is at the 🔝 of nearly every World’s Best list and if they shoot a movie in Amalfi, it’s usually here. Pinch me. Nothing can beat the style of this hotel, or location, hanging on the edge of a cliff with all those pretty houses climbing up the hills. It is on nearly every