CAPRI MEETS CABARITA!

Halcyon House

BEACHSIDE BEAUTY

Australia’s chicest boutique hotel Halcyon House has finally opened in Cabarita Beach and while you might think Cabarita isn’t the obvious choice for what will be known as Australia’s most daring and refreshing luxury hotel – I can assure it is. Situated halfway between the sexy Gold Coast and bohemian Byron Bay (my favourite destination in Australia at the moment) – this little beachside beauty is a stunner.

THE DETAIL

Inspired interiors by the talented Queensland interior designer Anna Spiro take each individually decorated hotel room to the next level. No two rooms are the same and (surprisingly for a beachfront retreat) upholstered walls only add to the fresh luxury Anna has created here. Bathrooms are a study in understated elegance with English tap ware, marble vanities and eye-catching, hand-made floor tiles.

Halcyon House

WHAT I LOVED

You’ll love the complimentary mini bar (alcohol not included) – I know I did, it’s the tiniest detail but I love it … for me it spells luxury. Mauro de Riso has been brought in directly from J.K. Place Capri to run this gem and I think the owners have hit the jackpot – Mauro runs the establishment with the well organised flurry only a handsome Italian GM can do – his eye for detail is everywhere (wait till you see the potted plants perfectly positioned throughout the property in chic pale pink terracotta pots!).

EAT IN

Paper Daisy is the in-house restaurant headed up by one of Queensland’s star chefs Ben Devlin who serves up  breakfast, lunch or dinner in sophisticated breezy-beachy style . I ate at Paper Daisy the entire time and loved it but if you want to venture out, I’d recommend Fleet in nearby Brunswick Heads.

THE LAST WORD

It’s all in the details here at Halcyon House – from the complimentary chilled Prosecco placed in your room on arrival (when you book with me …) to perfectly positioned sun lounges poolside – this is an elegant beachside retreat worthy of instant stardom.

Book your next stay with me at Halcyon House to receive upgrade on arrival (subject to availability), breakfast daily, a bottle of Prosecco on arrival along with other small surprises.

Thank you to everyone at Halcyon House for hosting me and to Sophie Baker at Wanderlust Union for organising every little detail.

I will be back.

RIVIERA MAYA NOW!

Hotel Esencia

HOTEL ESENCIA

My favourite Riviera Maya hotel has new owners and it’s had the perfect little make over – don’t worry, true Esencia aficionados won’t be disappointed, the new look is subtle with updated mid century furniture pieces now placed discreetly in public areas and in the guest rooms… it’s all perfectly executed and suits the feel of this classy beach-side resort perfectly.

Hotel Esencia

Nothing has been lost in its update – the cool, zen-like rooms are as fab as ever (most come with plunge pools) and everything is fresh, and in tip-top shape. Esencia still shines as the best of the best in Mexico… and just happens to sit on the best beach on the Riviera Maya.

Hotel Esencia

Come here if you want absolute luxe and seclusion, in fact Esencia would make the perfect Honeymoon destination too.

I’ve blogged about this beauty before and you can read about it here

Contact me for bookings… or perhaps join us in Mexico – May 2016 for our next luxury, small group Mexico Riche adventure?

*A big thank you to Kevin, Sebastian, Litzie and the entire Esencia team for looking after me (and the production team) so beautifully.

IT’S HOTTING UP IN MERIDA!

Casa Lecanda

Merida Now!

One of my favourite cities in Mexico just got hotter… while Merida has been on the it list of chic adventurous types for a while now – it still remains a quiet colonial town full of charm and some of the most authentic hacienda hotels in Mexico, and its food scene is thriving… the time is now to visit Merida!

Casa Lecanda

My home here is the chic hideaway Casa Lecanda – a small luxury boutique hotel located within the historical centre of Merida. I wouldn’t dare stay anywhere else, its luxury colonial charm and warm staff I now call family, make me feel at home each and every time I stay.

Oliva Enoteca

It’s perfect location just got better as owner Stefano Marcelliti and his gorgeous wife Melissa have just opened Oliva Enoteca… just across the street. An addition to Stefano’s first restaurant Oliva Kitchen a few blocks away – their burgeoning hospitality and culinary empire will hot up even more if Stefano gets his way and opens yet another hotel nearby.

Watch this space!

Stefano, Brent & Melissa

DON’T MISS

Coqui Coqui – the eponymous fragrance and design brand has a lovely boutique store in the centre of Merida… drop by and pick up one of their cult fragrances (Colonia de Linos will keep you fresh) – they also stock some covetable leather shoes, accessories and fab fashion for your gal.

Nectar Merida – Roberto Solis’ fab restaurant is still the talk of the town. Situated in Merida’s north – Nectar pushes the boundaries of contemporary Yucatean cuisine.

HISTORICAL HACIENDA TEMOZON!

Hacienda Temozon

STEP BACK INTO YUCATEAN HISTORY

A highlight of our Mexico Riche Luxe Tours is Hacienda Temozon, the 17C sisal factory turned chic boutique hotel in the middle of the Yucatan. You want authentic Mexico… you got it!

I’ve blogged about this beauty before and you can read all about it here.

I can however update you and tell you that is as chic as ever and we filmed an episode here for our upcoming LUXHD travel series. Stay tuned!

Hacienda Temozon

*Thank you to Cesar and the team at Hacienda Temozon who looked after us in great style. Hacienda Temozon is also part of the Starwood Luxury Collection.

Contact me to book and receive exclusive Where’s Brent Been amenities.

NECTAR MERIDA!

Roberto Solis

ROBERTO SOLIS

Guest Food Blogger Nettie Z has found a new food sensation… read on!

Sorry Heston but my new chef crush is on Mexican, rather Yucatecan born Roberto Solis. Yes, he did a stint at Fat Duck, Noma and Per Se. Now, he’s at his restaurant Nectar in hometown of Merida. My crush isn’t because he’s gregarious and gorgeous… It’s the fact that the humble herb, coriander is his all time favourite ingredient and that most people have very strong feelings about it… they either love or detest it! His passion and indifference is BRAVE!

Roberto Solis Nectar

Is it just my crush or is he a creative genius with his unique dish ‘Black onions?’ He blackens Chiles and uses the ash in the tempura batter that coats the onion w Xcatic (a Chile native to the Yucatan) coriander & lime aioli. These glistening black parcels are served on matt black charcoal… delicious, dramatic, daring and devilish. Or how about a taco of octopus wrapped in pork skin served with salsa? Melt in your mouth Seared tuna with segments of sour oranges, mandarins & grapefruit with a sesame, achiote (a spice unique to the Yucatan) emulsion.

Cooking class with Robero Solis

Exclusively, Roberto will demonstrate the ins and outs of Mexican cuisine at the exquisite Hacienda Tamchen on our next Mexico Riche Luxe tour… departing May, 2016. The full itinerary is at www.richeluxetravel.com

Cooking class with Robero Solis

Nettie Z

HACIENDA TAMCHEN!

Hacienda Tamchen

Hacienda Dreaming

Our exclusive travel partners in Mexico – Catherwood Travel hold the keys to the Yucatan – not only do they have access to one of the most beautiful and private cenotes (we feature a visit on our luxe tours) – they also own a collection of luxury haciendas… restored with impeccable detail.

Hacienda Tamchen

One example is Hacienda Tamchen – a fabulous example of a 17C hacienda revived with a contemporary redo… it is also the location for our exclusive Mexico Riche tour cooking class.

Nettie Z and I recently spent the day there enjoying Roberto Solis’ food and I had the opportunity to interview Roberto (Yucatan’s leading celebrity chef) for my new luxury travel series being filmed for LUXHD. Watch this space!

SCENE DINING – MEXICO CITY!

Guest food blogger Nettie Z dishes up two hot favourites in Mexico City.

ANATOL & DULCE PATRIA

Pulling up at Las Alcobas in Polanco, you know you’re in the posh part of Mexico City… neighbouring Hermes and Louis Vuitton stores could be a dead give away. Las Alcobas, is a discreet hotel which exudes style and quality in every detail of it’s rooms and two restaurants.

Anatol en Las Alcobas is where Chef Justin Ermini excels in executing sophisticated comfort food with exotic Mexican and Italian ingredients. Absolutely mad for the bone marrow and seeded flat bread, everyone’s favourite – a stuffed zucchini flower… tender as can be char-grilled octopus, and if you really want to be decadently naughty have the truffle Mac & Cheese.  Anatol does a bloody good G & T… not to mention (and I’m going out on a limb here) quite possibly the best classic Margarita in Mexico… can’t beat a frothy citrus head!  To top it all off, you can order it as room service.

Right next door, is the oh so pink and chic… Dulce Patria.  Celebrity chef Martha Ortiz has created a contemporary Mexican haven for her classic native dishes. Martha is fun and fanciful in her presentation, where she uses Mexican metal toys, utilitarian serving spoons and enough flowers to make a florist envious. All the drinks are garnished to perfection but the piece de resistance was her flan dessert… pretty as a picture… literally!

Nettie Z

* Join us in Mexico, May 2016 for our next Riche Luxe Mexico tour – contact me for details.

LAS ALCOBAS!

Las Alcobas

LAS ALCOBAS – MEXICO CITY

After Los Angeles I jetted to Mexico City to start filming a new luxury travel series for LUXHD. We travelled across Mexico, through the Yucatan to Tulum and it all started in Mexico City. Read on..

Mexico City will surprise you, I promise. Take my advice and start by checking into the ultra chic Las Alcobas located in posh Polanco. Think B&B Italia furniture, woven leather rugs, cool marble-clad bathrooms and the best beds ever, handmade especially for the hotel … trust me they make it hard to get out of bed around here. Oh and complimentary mini bars replenished daily with Mexican snacks and sweets really make you feel like the VIP you are.

Las Alcobas

You won’t go hungry  either, two of Mexico City’s finest restaurants are right downstairs – Anatol where Chef Justin Ermini integrates international seasonal gourmet cuisine with dishes inspired by farm-to-table ingredients and the upscale Mexican restaurant Dulce Patria is right next door – this is redefined Mexican fare where the celebrated chef Martha Ortiz serves classic Mexican cuisine with a contemporary twist.

You can’t go wrong with basing your beautiful self here at Las Alcobas – and why wouldn’t you, the rest of the jet set do too!

Las Alcobas

The Details

Las Alcobas , feels like an intimate club, a place you think you’ve found all on your own and you are the only member, with just 35 rooms this is a true boutique hotel and the smiling team will make you feel like family in no time.

Book with me to receive exclusive Where’s Brent Been benefits and think about joining me next year when I lead another luxury small group tour through Mexico with Nettie Z – we depart May 2015.

Contact me for all the details.

*A big thank you to Samuel and the entire team at Las Alcobas who went out of their way to welcome us and make us feel at home.

Grown up Glamour!

Peninsula Beverly Hills

THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS

I loved checking into The Peninsula Beverly Hills recently where I was a guest of the hotel for two luxurious nights on my way to Mexico City to shoot a luxury travel show pilot. Many thanks to the divine Anna Micic who rolled out not only the red carpet but also a lovely upgrade to a corner Grand Deluxe Room overlooking the porte-cochere and Beverly Hills beyond.

Peninsula Beverly Hills

It had been a few years since I had stayed at the hotel and it was good to be back. This is true 5 star luxe-hotel living …a hotel where they greet you by name, shower you with personal attention like no other and even make up your bed with monogrammed pillow cases – hello BW! (well if you book with me that is!)

Peninsula Beverly Hills

One of my favourite features of the hotel is the rooftop pool scene where you can spot the star / starlet discreetly hiding out in a cabana enjoying some delicious Californian cuisine from the fab Roof Garden lunch menu and sunbaking madly.

Of course personal service is the real the star here, housekeeping were spot on (and you NEVER see them in the hallways) even leaving glass cleaning cloths under my spectacle’s left bedside one day – I loved that! Detail, detail, detail, nothing was overlooked.

This is a grown up L.A. story – check in and create your own!

Book with me to receive extra special VIP Where’s Brent Been amenities.

 

PETIT ERMITAGE!

Petit Ermitage

PETIT ERMITAGE

Creative cool meets boho luxe here at Petit Ermitage, the off beat alternative to the Chateau.

Perfectly located in West Hollywood , it’s close to the bars (if you are so inclined) and you could easily stroll to Melrose for some retail therapy. It’s discreet and chic too, tucked away in a residential street so you can slip up in your Uber at any time, day or night and no one will ever know.

Petit Ermitage

Things I Loved

Roof top garden and restaurant, this is West Hollywood’s best kept secret – dine amongst the hummingbirds and butterflies on a menu of farm to table fare expertly created. Head up the stairs again to the pool deck where you can lounge poolside under crisp, white cotton fringed umbrellas in your brightly colored Orlebar Brown collection or play it safe in block colours … either option will look perfectly fabulous against the orange and white striped day beds, all lined up ready for action.

IMG_6774

Where I Slept

Captains Quarters for me, a lovely and much appreciated upgrade from my buddy and the Director of Sales Lisa Di Paola made me feel right at home. Comfy King bed, full size mini bar, a sleek bathroom all tiled in bottle green (with good lighting) and a little balcony to peer up into the Hollywood Hills kept me SO happy.

The Details

If your style is Chateau Marmont and your budget doesn’t quite fit then Petit Ermitage is a great alternative and if shabby chic makes a you swoon in comfort then this is the place for you … oh and the pool scene is rather lively..

Go now, don’t let those creative class travellers keep it all for themselves.

Book with me and receive exclusive Where’s Brent Been VIP amenities.