Heirloom Book Company — After owner Brad Norton had collected some 4,000 cookbooks, he opened this light-filled store to deal with the overflow. I could have browsed the new and rare vintage cookbooks for hours. Tempting titles included “Cooking with Italian Grandmothers” and an 1871 edition of “Mrs. Porter’s New Southern Cookery Book.” 123 KING STREET. TEL. (843) 469-1717.
Jacques’ Antiques — This beautiful shop houses enough furniture, china, glassware, art and costume jewelry to outfit a small château. Owner Jacques Lemoine regularly returns to France to replenish the stock. In his absence, ask for the knowledgeable and charming Françoise. 160 KING STREET. TEL. (843) 577-0104.
The town of Paso Robles brings to mind the Healdsburg of 30 years ago, when I made my first visit to Sonoma. At the center of a charming tree- shaded square stands a handsome library donated by Andrew Carnegie. With the growing success of the wine business, the town is evolving into a place of stylish boutiques and sophisticated restaurants. But it retains the down-to-earth air of an agricultural center, and you invariably see pickup trucks and sunburned men in cowboy hats and boots.
The Hotel Cheval stands in the shelter of a large tree that slightly obscures its striking and pleasingly proportioned façade of stucco and cut stone. As the name suggests, the property has a dash of French flair, first revealed in an inviting lounge where reception staff greet you at a lovely Provençal desk. Although the Cheval’s amenities are limited, it is a delightful small hotel that I greatly enjoyed and to which I would happily return.
The charming 64-room Planters Inn sits squarely in the center of Charleston across the street from the historic (albeit touristy) City Market. The inn’s two buildings, a 19th-century warehouse and a contemporary structure trimmed by broad loggias, flank a quiet courtyard. Inside, the lobby and adjacent lounge contain Oriental rugs, antique furniture and gilt-framed oil portraits.
Our travel photo contest is under way and we have enjoyed all the wonderful entries. The photo above is this week’s choice for the first “Travel Photo of the Week” and the winner of a one-year Andrew Harper Premier Online subscription. Congratulations Lynda on your beautiful photo! The hippo in the vibrant green grass and the lions looming in the distance leave us longing to go on a game-viewing drive in Africa (and slightly worried for the hippo).
View all of the travel photo contest entries and vote for your favorites on our contest entry page. The photo contest runs through the end of May so there is still time to enter for the chance to win a three-night stay at Palazzo Seneca in Umbria.
Peninsula announces plan for Rangoon property.
Rosewood expands to Bali & Jakarta.
Ritz-Carlton announces new resort in Marrakech, Morocco.
St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum to open luxury hotel.
Gritti Palace reopens following 15-month renovation.
New York’s most expensive luxury hotel is the St. Regis.
Economist profiles Ultimate Library, a hotel library consultancy.
Aston Martin celebrates 100 years.
Emirates grows profits by 52%.
Despite a decade of work, TSA’s biometric cards still don’t work.
Northern Ireland’s Armagh Gaol to become a luxury hotel.
Promotion for Kimpton Hotels designer Bradley.
Mid-priced hotels are challenging luxury brands.
Fawsley Hall up for sale.
Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay in Turkey opens “Silent Beach.”
British Museum to open new extension.
Survey: Luxury travelers rank internet access higher than beach, cuisine, privacy.
More Germans buying vacation homes in Italy.
Canada Tourism has stopped marketing to Americans.
Photo Gallery: Tilt-shift wonders of the world.
I have long believed that one of the most enjoyable wine drives in the United States follows West Dry Creek Road in northern Sonoma. Staying at the Farmhouse Inn puts you in the perfect location to explore this memorable route, as well as the many wonderful wineries in the Russian River Valley. Located in Forestville, 10 miles south of Healdsburg and 23 miles west of Kenwood, the inn evolved from an 1873 farmhouse. Butter-yellow clapboard siding, shuttered windows and a front veranda make it look country simple at first glance, but it is also wonderfully sophisticated, seamlessly merging the rural and the contemporary.
Perched on a hillside overlooking Santa Barbara and the Pacific, El Encanto opened in 1918 and became a favorite hideaway for Hollywood’s elite. After a meticulous seven-year renovation, the resort reopened on March 18. The Spanish Colonial property now has 92 individually designed bungalows, set amid seven acres of gardens. Executive Chef Patrice Martineau, formerly of Danielin New York, serves “California Coastal” cuisine. The property even has its own Holstein cow, Ellie, whose milk will be used to produce handmade cheese! I plan to visit El Encanto in the coming months and will publish a firsthand resort. In the meantime, a member of our Travel Office sends these photos.
Inspired by hotels in our Collection, here is a last-minute gift guide for Mother’s Day. Browse our recommendations below for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, and let us know if you have a suggestion in the comments.
From top left:
Hotel St. Cecilia – St. Cecilia Kimono Robe, $175
Auberge du Soleil – Auberge Blend Green Tea, $45.50
Blackberry Farm – Cheese Club, four times per year, email for rates
Sofitel – Intérieur Figuier candle, $60
Banyan Tree – Essential Oils, $26 each
The Resort at Pelican Hill – Bath Caviar, $35
Hotel Splendido – Oil Cruet, $170
Paws Up – Huckleberry Jam, $6
Maroma Resort – Ocean View Junior Suite Stay, from $1,065 nightly
Montage Laguna Beach – Luxury Down Feather Pillow, $180
Post Ranch Inn – Lavender Body Product Collection, $124
The Peninsula Beverly Hills – Spa Gift Certificate, $300
Want more suggestions? View our extended Mother’s Day gift guide on Pinterest.
Numerous companies offer tours of Charleston. On a recent visit, however, I spent most of a day with the inimitable Laura Wichmann Hipp, a lifelong resident and founder of Charleston Tea Party Private Tours. After breakfast overlooking the harbor, Hipp led our small group around a private Italianate garden. We then toured the magnificent William Pinckney Shingler house, also usually closed to the public. Throughout, the ever-engaging Hipp would quote freely from Charleston literature. The tour concluded with a light lunch in Hipp’s well-kept home. The experience was in every way a delight, and I unreservedly recommend it.