Sunday, November 27, 2011

Five great hotels for winter getaways!

The Thanksgiving holiday is over, and now we all start thinking about  our winter travel plans. In my next few posts, I plan to cover a few good holiday getaways, ones that you may not know about...the whole range from great spots for those sun-seekers (like me!) to ski resorts that you'll love to share with family or friends. 

The first one is a little-known gem in the BVI called Peter Island Resort...and like many destinations in the Caribbean, this one is ALL about the water and the beach! Peter Island is found just southwest of Tortola, in Sir Francis Drake Channel, so it's the typical arrival pattern of long flight, short flight, boat ferry, car or van, and the final flourish of a rum punch of some sort as you are being checked into your room. Ok, now the skinny about the rooms is this; the Resort has two DISTINCTLY different levels of rooms. DO NOT, Under any circumstances, book anything but the beachfront rooms! The harborside rooms were built back in the 60's for a convenient "overnight" for boaters and sailing boats, and are categorically unacceptable for any length of stay. (In my opinion, they need to be scraped, or only held for overnight stays.) Cramped, with dark decor and unacceptable bathrooms, they aren't consistent with any resort experience. So, the beachfront rooms are the only reasonable option, and be sure you ask for the recently renovated ones, as they others are quite shabby. The beachfront rooms, like the ones at Caneel Bay, on St. Johns, feel a little like an old Rock Resort, with one stone wall, and peaked wood ceilings. The renovation is reasonable, but really, this resort is ALL about the beach, so make sure your room has a good view, and if you must move to get the great setting, do so, as it's completely worth it!




So, did I mention that Peter island as ALL about the beach?! Take a look at one of the most beautiful natural curves of soft white sand you'll find in the Caribbean....perfect levels of shade and sun, and located in a cove to keep the waves gentle enough for a little fun, but not too strong to deter you from swimming. Warm, clear and filled with turtles and a moderate amount of tropical fish, you can spend entire days in a straight line from your room to the water(with an occasional diversion to the beach bar....)





If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can check out a Hobie cat or a kayak, and explore around the island, happy in the knowledge that this perfect beach is never far away....




Like most of the islands in the BVI grouping, Peter Island is a central spine of small hills cascading down to the beaches, and has a good bit of lush foliage, so it's the perfect dosage of "tropical", especially as we face these short, dark, cold winter days.




Here's a shot of the renovated beachfront rooms, of which this one's a second story (I prefer ground level, so I can walk straight out to the beach, but the view from the second story balconies is fantastic)

 


Another shot of the bathrooms in the renovated beachfront rooms, replete with the "tub with a view"...this is a favorite design feature of mine, and it's executed here in a cheery combination of colored tiles and plenty of glass.




This image is the dreaded Harbour side rooms, and at a quick glance, they look reasonable, but the moment you step inside them, youll insist upon being moved...




So, I think I've mentioned that this resort is all about the beach and the water, right? That's because the other amenities and services are average, at best! The main ding room is the typical stone-clad "sugar plantation" style building, the food is completely forgettable, the spa is not worth spending any time in, and the pool needs to be redone. What does truly exceed expectations is the staff. Many of them have been there since the resort opened, and are absolutely charming and delightful, going out of their way to care about the guests, and make your stay memorable. They are truly exceptional, and actually make the difference between this being an average resort with a great beach, and a truly delightful winter getaway...




The resort's staff can accommodate almost any request, and will happily arrange for deep sea fishing and diving trips if you are feeling the need to stir from your beach chair.




When you go, be sure to catch a sunset on the top of the mountain. The staff will arrange for some champagne and a lite bite, and will take you up to the best spot. If you're lucky, you'll even get to see the infamous "green flash" as you watch the sun sink below the water...



Peter Island Resort is an "almost" perfect antidote to winter... stay posted, more to come! 

Ciao

Lisa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Decor Q & A Highlights


Today, I had another opportunity to host a Facebook Q&A, this time with a focus on Holiday Decor. You can check out the event log here, or just scroll down a bit for a rundown. A special thanks goes out to fellow Bay Area interior designer/blogger and colour consultant Chelsi Liddell over at the Designer File for joining in on the fun!




Q:
Hi Lisa - would love to know what colour trends you think will be big for holiday 2011? 
A:  
Silver will be big this year. And silver and gold combos, basing off of fashion which is doing a lot of gilded stuff! 


Q: 
What are some less traditional holidays colors that I can use for my holiday decor? Besides red & green.
A:  
Silver and gold, blue and silver, and red and white are great combos that are holiday related without going red and green. Great question!


Q:  
I have a small house and a ton of family. About 25 people in a three bedroom house. We have a nice sized basement (has carpet and a two long tables with bench seating) and we usually have dinner down there. What can I do to make it look NOT like a basement? Last year I hung strings of lights up, but it just ended up looking like a dorm room.
A:  
Rent table linens in a single color. Create a nice table top design and make sure to include candles, random lighting points around the room, and you can hang lights but how you hang them up makes a difference. Create a table that will look great. You want them to ignore the basement element and bring in tremendous looking tables and linens and lots of glowing candles that sparkle.


Q: 
I'm doing Thanksgiving dinner at my house for the first time. My parents hosted it for the past 35 years and I'm taking over this year.We have a big dining area with huge arch doorways. Our design aesthetic is rustic/wine country. What can I do with these arches? I want to decorate it for Autumn and Winter parties and especially make a big impression on this Thanksgiving dinner. I don't want it to look gaudy though and I'm afraid it will.
A:  
I would get some fresh magnolia leaves and I would create a bough, which is a long string connecting the leaves/branches and frame the arch in a single row. The mag leafs are beautiful and two toned dark green/soft brown looks perfect for the entire season. To source the magnolia leaves, check in with a florist or if you have a flower mart near you, have them order some in. What's great about these is that they will last for many weeks without wilting or getting papery, and they look great the whole time!


Hey guys, another stumper is getting holiday hostess gifts that don't feel gimmicky, here's some Italian candles that I love, and are perfect grab and go gifts for friends...

Italian Prayer Candles


Photo Credit: Napa Style


Another thing I love are these goblets. They will only work as a gift for someone whose tastes runs this way, but they are great looking, and I'm sure sturdy to last through all the toasting that goes on...

Olivo Etched Glass Goblets


Photo Credit: Napa Style



Q:  
Lisa - any suggestions for creative gift wrapping ideas?
A:  
I love getting the recycled brown "butcher paper" and doing your wrapping with this. Add some great colored bows with natural twine for a tasteful simple look. Keeping all the packages similar colors is always best as well.


Q:
Alright, I gotta ask: The Christmas Tree. I recently moved all my furniture around my living room to make it a bit more inviting, which left an ideal space for the tree in a now-out-of-the-way corner of the room. What can I do to bring the attention back to the tree? Should I re-re-arrange?
A:  
No! Don't bother to re-arrange, just keep the tree in the corner, but add TONS of little white lights! Also, keep the rest of the tree decor simple, and themed, and you'll have a corner tree that GLOWS for the holidays. It's a great look!


Q: 
I need some closet solutions, immediately. We have two bikes in there and I'm not sure if boxing clothes up would be the best solution -- can you help? 
A:  
Space bags are your friend. It feels goofy because you buy them at CostCo but they work. Big vacuum pack bags and suck all the air out of the bag and give you so much space! You'll have plenty of room for holiday entertaining if you can move more items into the closet. 


Q: 
Any ideas or unique ways to seat both an adult table and a kids table in the same space for the holidays? I always have a group of children who love sitting at a table together for the holiday dinners, and the adults enjoy watching them sit together.
A:  
If you can't fit the tables together, create a smaller version of the same table top decor so they feel part of the festivities! Remember you don't want them to feel like they are at a different party than the adults. Avoid hallway tables! 


Q: 
What do you think about floor lamps vs. overhead, attractive decorative lighting?
A:  
Overhead lighting is great for task areas, such as kitchens, but you always need to make sure they are dimmable for when you're not working in the area. Floor lighting is great for creating ambiance or near reading chairs, etc. If you have high ceilings, torchieres are great to bounce light and create some ambiance there as well. Get a great fixture that has multiple light points, and this will create a nice ambiance, then add two other floor or table lamps so that you have three points of light in the room you can work with. This helps the space feel less task based, and more like a room you can "live" in!


Q:
What would be a good stocking stuffer this year? I am always seeking new ideas for the holidays stockings we hang up.
A: 
I just stumbled across these clay rosaries, which are fabulous rustic decor items...

Clay Bead Rosaries 

Photo Credit: Napa Style



Q:  
One more question, what would you suggest for office party decor and gifts?
A:  
Office parties are multi-denominational, so be aware of that when choosing themes or decor. Plain white lights always looks festive, and crosses all cultural boundaries. For the classic "Secret Santa" event, take a look at these ideas for appropriate corporate gift giving...




Oh, and one last comment from a participant regarding holiday traditions. This is a scream:

"Holiday traditions...a fun one....every year we fill an entire envelope full of holiday confetti disguised as a card, and send it to Grandma on the East Coast. We make sure to pack it just right because when she opens it, the confetti immediately falls all over her. Grandma never seems to remember that tradition :) but she still gets a kick out of it."


Friday, November 4, 2011

Huffington Post's Stylelist, Napa Style, and Design Advice


I'm delighted to announce my new gig at Huffington Post’s inspirational new resource, Stylelist Home


This blog, along with my NapaStyle blog, will cover a wide range of design topics. My first post is all about utilizing these early November days to get organized and inspired for the design and decor solutions needed for the holiday season ahead.

http://www.stylelist.com/lisa-holt
Through these posts, I’m hoping to create an inspirational dialogue about all sorts of design and decor solutions needed at this time of year. And if you're feeling a little overwhelmed with what needs to get done, join me as I host an upcoming online event about that very topic next week! 

Please be sure to join me at my NapaStyle Q&A Facebook chat on November 9. I’ll be discussing wine country holiday style from my perspective, and I’d love to hear about your holiday decorating traditions as well! These events are a lot of fun, and a great source of ideas and inspiration.