The last place we stayed in New Zealand was one of the most unique and peaceful spots we’ve been to and was a perfect ending to our trip. Situated on a river’s edge in Keri Keri, the Pagoda Lodge’s setting is something magical. Take a peek inside the riverside safari tent that we called home… after the jump.
Archive for the ‘Smitten Travels’ Category
Our first two nights in New Zealand were spent at this lovely boutique hotel in the heart of Auckland. Upon arrival to Hotel Debrett we were greeted with such friendly and helpful staff that we felt right at home. They gave us great recommendations on what to do around the city (i.e. walk up Franklin to Ponsonby street for shops and take the ferry to Waiheke island) and Michelle, the owner, even helped us plan a few stops on our campervan route.
After 13 hours on a plane we were happy to be welcomed to New Zealand with a room drenched in sunlight with loads the windows, a big comfy bed, and many unique design touches (no two rooms are the same!). I wanted to take that green chair from our room (2nd photo) home with me so bad. We also enjoyed a complimentary welcome cocktail in the drawing room which is for the exclusive use of guests of the hotel and is also home to a 24 hour honor bar.
Get our tips for staying at Hotel Debrett and a few of our favorite restaurants in the area after the jump…
We decided to stay up in the north island this trip so that we didn’t feel too rushed trying to fit everything into one visit (which also means we have a really good excuse to return for the south island). As it went, we still managed to stay in a different place every night and drove anywhere from 2 – 5 hours a day, which for me, made for a good on the road to out and about ratio.
A couple of my favorite days were spent at beaches like Manu Bay near Raglan (bottom two photos) and Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel Peninsula (4th photo block on the left). On both occasions we packed a picnic, took a pretty hike down to the beach and spent a full day playing in the waves, and relaxing in the sand while the sun moved across the sky.
Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel
If you are interested in taking a similar trip or just want to know where all we went, I’ve laid out our route after the jump!
When planning our trip to New Zealand we knew it had to include a road trip campervan style and as soon as I came across the Classic Campers website I was completely sold on getting into one of their rental Kombis. Retro Volkswagen heaven.
I can not tell you how much we fell in love with this van (and New Zealand). It became a little part of us while we were touring around the north island’s hills. It was our transportation by day, our shelter at night, it screams happiness and total freedom, and it literally made me smile every time I climbed into the passenger seat. Don’t ask me how a van does all that but it downright stole my heart. Rupe has already started scouring the internet for ones for sale and we dream daily of buying one and driving it all around the states.
Bevan and Andrea, the owners of Classic Campers, were also a treat to work with. He is a bit of a whiz when it comes to the VW mechanics so he had the 1975 Kombi running like a champ. They have a collection of seven vintage campervans that they rent out as well as some modern vans and caravan options. Our particular Kombi came complete with a refrigerator/freezer, hot & cold pressure water, a 2 burner gas stove, and a good stereo system with a USB hookup for our Iphones. What more do you need, really?
All of the photos above are from the first few days of our trip, which covered the Coromandel Peninsula.
I’ll share our full 11 day route with the van in Part two tomorrow!
Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel
Get a few tips for planning a NZ road trip after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Over the holidays Rupe and I went back to Michigan but we also fit in a little trip to Chicago. We happened to stumble across the Hotel Lincoln on Hotels.com and decided to stay there for a couple nights for a vacation from our vacation. Come to find out it is a Joie de Vivre hotel which is based out of San Francisco and is the same company responsible for the colorful Saguaro hotel in Palm Springs among many other unique California places to rest your head.
From the minute we walked in the lobby I knew this was my kind of place. It’s the kind of inviting lobby that makes you want to sit around and hang out for a while. My favorite part was the mix of patterns, colors, and textures. I snapped these photos of a few that were just in the lobby alone!
Get a peek into the lobby and read more after the jump.
Get all the details and see more photos after the jump!
There is nothing like a normal Monday morning to slap you back to reality… especially when you spent your weekend up in Big Sur and everything about it felt straight out of a dream. So, while I am struggling to sit back in front of the computer this morning, the good times from the weekend won’t soon be forgotten.
Rupert and I headed up the coast and spent the weekend exploring, hiking (through what I am sure to be an enchanted forest), picnicing, and sleeping under the stars in that otherworldly “human nest” above. The whole thing felt very “where the wild things are” and we were happy to feel like kids again on some great adventure.
More on our stay in “the nest” at Treebones coming up…
Images from my Instagram feed. (I’m @sarahshermansamuel)
This weekend’s trip to Palm Springs turned out to be as motivating and inspirational as it was relaxing. While at the Ace Hotel I got a chance to meet so many creative ladies that I am online or instagram friends with but had never met in person, and was also introduced to new ones that I hadn’t been familiar with before.
There were many laughs, plenty of pool time, new friends, and a shared meal where the conversation continued on for hours after our dinner plates were cleared. It was pretty much a perfect weekend.
To see more from the weekend you can check out my instagram feed here.