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      Blog — Travel

      Staycation Secrets To Experience the Ultimate Vacation At Home

      Staycation Secrets To Experience the Ultimate Vacation At Home

      In these unprecedented times we wanted to share a few fun staycation secrets to experience the ultimate vacation at home. 

      Make Your Space Smell Like A Fancy Hotel: For travelers, the olfactory sense creates some of the strongest memories. Burn scented candles, plug in an oil diffuser or use room spray to perfume your home, creating a calming space where you can relax. Some of the world’s finest hotels are perfumed with bespoke fragrances. Source them from your favourite hotel or try these from Aroma 360 Hotel Scent Collection. (photo via Inspiration)

      Cook A Meal That Will Make You Feel Like You're Worlds Away: Peruse through your cookbook shelf, and re-create a meal from your favourite destination. Chefs are sharing cooking tips and recipes online, check out Massimo Bottura of Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena who is hosting a daily virtual cooking series called Kitchen Quarantine. Follow along with your favourite chefs and cook up something new. You can even take it a step further and discover the joy of cooking with one of these top online cooking courses (photo via Instagram)

      Shake Up A Cocktail From Your Dream Destination: Nothing says vacation like a destination cocktail. Dreaming of Mexican beaches? Try something with tequila. Toast well wishes to Italy with an Aperol spritz. Feeling French? Cheers with Champagne. Head to the tropics by shaking up a rum cocktail. Literally choose your own adventure... depending on what you have in the liquor cabinet! (photo via Washington Post)

      Have A Spa Day:
      Bring serenity home with a home spa day using common pantry ingredients. Make a body scrub with ingredients like sugar, coffee, coconut oil, and olive oil, make it extra by adding a few drops of essential oils if you have them. Try one or a few of Rancho La Puerta's masks for every skin type. Turn your shower into a sanctuary with a few drops of your favourite essential oil and enjoy a hydrating fruit water afterwards. (photo via Guest of Guest)

      Create A Playlist:
      Transport yourself through music with a curated Spotify playlist, try Soundtrack Your Ride which generates a road trip playlist for you based on your Spotify history and your answers to a few questions, or check out the ever-expanding list of shows and musical events to stream from the comfort of your home. Search here and here. (photo via Islands)

      Take Virtual Sightseeing Tours: 
      You can now tour some of the world's most famous tourist attractions like the ruins of PompeiiMachu Picchu or national parks right from your couch. With Google Arts and Culture you can literally travel anywhere...digitally. (photo via Google)


      Travel: Brittany Edition

      Travel: Brittany Edition

      Ty Ma Villa

      Ty Mad Villa Dining

      Hôtel Ty Mad

      Hôtel Ty Mad is a cosy and charming late nineteenth-century stone villa. The hotel’s 15 contemporary rooms all enjoy a lot of light and exceptional views of the bay, and there's a fabulous restaurant too. No wonder the name in Breton means 'good house'.

      Located in Douarnenez's Tréboul area about a one-hour drive from Brest, and 30 minutes from Quimper. Douarnenez or Douarn – as locals call it, is a quaint old fishing town with Quayside paths and zigzagging narrow streets. Boats come in from the Atlantic to unload their catches of mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Just offshore is the Ile Tristan, which is accessible on foot at low tide and across the Port-Rhu channel is Tréboul, a seaside resort town favoured by French families. It is also the ideal spot to explore the dramatic capes of Pointe du Millier and Pointe du Raz that reside in the west.

      The hotel Ty Mad enjoys a spectacular view of the Iroise Sea and sits only a few yards above the tiny bijou beach of Saint-Jean. In its past life, the late nineteenth-century villa belonged to the local diocese before it became a boarding house in 1924. Present owner Armelle Raillard has been running the hotel since 2004 and has managed to match the old-fashioned villa’s layout with a cosy contemporary interior design.  

      Why you will never want to leave…

      Mrs. Raillard is very knowledgeable about the area and will happily advise visitors on places to go and help arrange days out such as sea-kayaking along the coast and discovering the charming nearby Isle of Tristan.

      The indoor pool –– or Japanese 'zen pool' and hammam offer a lovely view of the villa's garden. Massages and spa treatments available by appointment.

      The dining room has wrap-around bay windows overviewing the bay where one can enjoy Chef Didier Lecuisinier's menu. Chef celebrates the land of Brittany, selecting the best produce –– organic produce bought from young local producers. All the seafood is wild, the oysters are from the Ile de Sein, and the meat is from animals reared outdoors. Breakfast is a generous buffet with different breads, homemade pastries, cakes and jams, cheeses, fresh fruits, boiled eggs and organic juices. Gluten-free breads and cakes are also available.

      £80 per night
      Pet friendly from £9 per night

      Please note:  The hotel closes during winter from the beginning of November till the end of March.

      3, Rue Saint Jean, Douarnenez, 29100, France.
      00 33 0298 740053




      This old-fashioned seafood restaurant sits at the Pointe du Van, as far west as you can go in France without running into the sea. Family run, and now in its third generation, the L'Etrave, is known for its vaulted, no-frills dining room and legendary creamed lobster. 

      They use the freshest lobsters which are split down the middle, drowned with the heaviest cream, and then scorched under a broiler to darken the edges of the meat and the surface of the cream before serving on a large metal platter.

      Rte. de la Pointe du Van, Cléden-Cap-Sizun 
      Dinner for two $120



      Cidrerie Paul Coic Cidres

      What is Brittany without cider or cidre in French!? This first-generation cider maker produces top-notch brews and distilled lambigs. Sip from four different Ciders: brut, farmhouse, semi-dry and sweet, try the Pommeau de Bretagne a subtle blend of apple juice and brandy, the Lambig de Bretagne a traditional cider brandy from the distillation of cider, aged in oak barrels from 3 to 7 years and the Gwenn: Blanche de Pomme, cider brandy from the distillation of cider, aged in stainless steel vats, which allows it to keep its white colour.

      Do not be surprised when instead of a glass, your cider is served in a bolée, a traditional cup made from terracotta. If you are looking for an original souvenir from the Brittany region a bolée, is an excellent choice.

      P.S. You won't want to miss the recipe for our Sip of the Month!

      Kerscouédic 29710 Plonéis, France 


      Your Packing List Sorted: 5 Pieces, 6 Different Outfits

      Travel light with heleneclarkson clothing! Shop these five pieces that can get through a whole week of travel. Featured are our Aro Cigarette Pants, Anaa Reversible T-Shirt, Baku Reversible Dress, Dixie 4-Way Reversible Mock Tank, and the Salima Convertible Wrap Skirt that can be worn up to 3 different ways. These pieces can be mixed and matched for endless options. 

      For More Brittany travel tips our #HCTraveler Patricia Gentry recommends the following links:

      Brittany Culture

      Brittany Driving Itinerary by Karen Brown

      Brittany Travel Planning by Rick Steves

      Doing Brittany's Dinan by Rick Steves

      Ancient Stones of Brittany - Audio Europe: France by Rick Steves

      Weekend Getaway: Gold Coast Chicago

      Weekend Getaway: Gold Coast Chicago

      The Thompson Hotel

      The Thompson

      The Thompson

      The Thompson Hotel

      Set among the historic mansions of Chicago's hip Gold Coast neighbourhood, this trendy, upscale hotel overlooks tree-lined streets and offers sweeping floor-to-ceiling vistas of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.

      Designed by British icon Tara Bernerd, the Thompson boasts eclectic vibes with midcentury lines and plush textures of leather, velvet and warm American woods.

      Why you will never want to leave…

      It's within easy walking distance of the lakefront at Oak Street Beach, as well as the Magnificent Mile shopping stretch and the Clark-Division stop on the Chicago Transit Red Line, which can have you in the downtown Loop in 10 minutes. 

      Floor to ceiling windows offer terrific views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline. Guests staying in penthouses nab private outdoor terraces.

      Nico Osteria, Thompson Chicago's signature restaurant, features authentic Italian and seafood by local hero and executive chef  Paul Kahan.

      Looking for fitness classes or spa treatments? Receive discounts with neighboring Exhale Spa to make your stay even more refreshing and relaxing.

      From $180 per night
      21 E Bellevue Pl, Chicago, IL
      1 312-266-2100



      the spicy yellowfin tuna tartare with hass avocado, sweet chili, cucumber, red shiso and soy caviar—all served alongside taro chips.

      Le Colonial

      Due to it's close proximity to Chicago's famed shopping district the Magnificent Mile, the Gold Coast offers respite during a shopping trip. Fancy hotel restaurants and steak houses are abundant, so we chose something a bit different. Le Colonial has been known for decades as a place for celeb sightings, and the tropical interior filled with palm leaves and sophisticated style offers a refreshing escape from the city streets. 

      The Vietnamese cuisine hints of French in presentation only, don't expect heavy sauces, rather plenty of light and tangy flavours of citrus and chiles. A typical dish is the goi bo, a spicy marinated beef salad with lemongrass and Thai basil or wok-prepared lemongrass chicken kicked up with opal basil and red chilies. Regulars rely on house favourites like the chả giò (crispy spring rolls with shrimp and pork), spicy yellowfin tuna tartare with Hass avocado, sweet chili, cucumber, red shiso and soy caviar served alongside taro chips (shown above), crispy shrimp beignets and lean, juicy ginger-marinated duck. 

      57 E. Oak Street
      Chicago, IL 60611
      +1 312-255-0088


      Endless Options

      Helene Clarkson F/W 2019: Paris

      Jardin du Luxembourg

      Paris, the city where there's always something beautiful around the next corner. Strolling the cobbled streets along the Canal Saint-Martin, the perfect atmosphere for Helene Clarkson's F/W 2019 collection transpired. In the words of Audrey Hepburn, "Paris is always a good idea".

      If you want a travel wardrobe that's both stylish and versatile and will easily fit into your carry on bag, follow Helene's Paris Packing List for essential pieces that can be mixed and matched for the perfect multi-purpose travel ensemble.

      Helene's Paris Packing List

      Main photo via Verte Magazine

      Travel: Paris Edition

      Travel: Paris Edition


      Hôtel du Petit Moulin, Paris

      Hôtel du Petit Moulin

      In the heart of the lively Marais, the Hôtel du Petit Moulin is a very picturesque and elegant mansion, decorated by Christian Lacroix.

      Why you will never want to leave…
      Housed in a former 17th-century bakery with original features still intact.

      Bold, individually designed rooms by renowned designer Christian Lacroix.

      In-room massages available, or guests have complimentary access to the fitness room and luxury spa (with steam room, hot tub and beauty treatments) at Spa de la Reine.

      The hotel is within walking distance of the Picasso Museum, Place des Vosges and the Opera Bastille. 

      The bijou breakfast room offers classics like French petit dej served with bread and croissants, Alain Milliat jam, fruit salad, cheese and yogurt. Or opt for the smaller Le Parisien: coffee, juice and a couple of pastries. Come dusk, Thursday to Saturday, the space turns into a private guests-only bar.

      230 per night
      29 Rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris, France


      Ma Bourgogne

      Ma Bourgogne

      Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, Ma Bourgogne is a lovely spot for a drink and a bite while sitting under the arches of the gorgeous Place des Vosges. Standard French brasserie fare (the fixed menu is a lovely choice), specialties include: snails, foie gras, andouillette, hand-chopped tartare, generous salads, and Berthillon ice cream.

      19 place des Vosges, 4th,
      +33 1 42 78 44 64



      Sip of the Month: The Parisian

      Le Petit Retro Paris

      Drink like a Parisian with this fabulous cocktail from the 1920s.

      Serves 1


      1 ½ oz Dry Vermouth
      1 ½ oz Gin
      ½ oz Créme de Cassis

      Shake with ice until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry if desired.

      Photo and recipe via Zozzled Cocktail Main photo, The Fork