Between Sandy, election fever, and now this blizzard that appears to be happening outside of my window, the arrival of French architecture mag, Decoration International, in my mailbox today was a welcome respite from the frenzies of late. For the cover of their second issue, the publication featured one of my favorite shots from my trip to Tierra Patagonia in Chile. Those blue skies sure seem like a world away right nowâ€”and I guess they kinda are.
Guilt consumed me during breakfast this morning when I realized that my last post was nearly two months ago. It became almost unbearable when it occurred to me that my two or three regular readers (you know who you are) might have even noticed my absence, and perhaps even shaken their heads in collective disappointment. So I’ve scurried back to my hotel room to fix that during the 30 minutes I have before heading out to yet another Jamaican resort. No commentary hereâ€”except to pick up an August issue of Robb Report and check out my feature on breathtaking Patagonia. Can’t wait to return home to see this bad boy sitting in my mailbox. more»
I find it truly amazing that I’ve been to 12 of what Robb Report deems the world’s top 100 resorts. That means way more decadent dinners, drop-dead gorgeous suites, panoramic vistas, and mind-numbing spa treatments than I deserve. What I’m most pumped about though is the volume of my photography that made it into the articleâ€”from the bush of South Africa to the vineyards of Chile to the beaches of Mexico and Seychellesâ€”even my hyper-critical self can’t help but sit back and sigh contentedly at these pages! more»
The Colchagua Valley and surrounding winelands were my last stop in my Chilean adventure, topped off with a stay at Lapostolle Residence, a swank little resort run by the country’s most celebrated winery, Clos Apalta. The property is nothing if not decadentâ€”I started out with a wine-paired five-course lunch and finished with a massage on my casita’s private deck, with a Grand Marnier tasting (using chocolate shot glasses!), an extensive wine tasting, and a tour of the property’s underground, lair-like wine cellar fitting somewhere in-between. With the exception of an unfortunate swarm of bees that were terribly interested in my breakfast jams, the entire stay was damn-near perfect. more»
Tidbits of my time in Santiago, including the chic and sexyÂ Aubrey Hotel;Â a magical, if smoggy, park in the sky (which I was told featuresâ€”though viewed no evidence ofâ€”excellent vistas of the Andes); a political-statement-slash-tapas-bar; more free art and cultural spaces than an American knows what to do with; and pastel de choclo (look it up, make it, and prepare to have your world rocked). more»
A last bit of Patagonia that I just couldn’t bear not to post. Sadly, my trip came on the heels a tragic fire that ravaged more than 20 square miles of Torres del Paine National Park. That the blaze just barely missed Explora’s Hotel Salto Chico was hardly luck. Rather, a devoted staff that stayed behind to battle the flames was the property’s saving grace. Nonetheless, Salto Chico was undergoing a much-needed scrubbing during my visitâ€”thus the limited photographyâ€”rendering the great outdoors my home for much of my stay. But, really, isn’t that the point of Patagonia anyway? more»
Between the 17-hour days (hello, golden hours!), the jagged scribbles that Torres del Paine’s mountain ranges form over the horizon, and those funky lenticular clouds that hang like orbs in the sky, Patagonia is absolutely one of those places that requires little-to-no skill to photograph. I wish I could say I’m this amazing of a photographer, but, alas, these landscapes (not to mention the breathtaking new Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa) really deserve all of the credit. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m so in awe of these shots that they get a bit redundantâ€”allow my deficiencies in self-editing this one time! more»
You always read about how Patagonia is this life-changing pocket of the world where people go to find themselvesâ€”or lose themselvesâ€”in the frighteningly vast and utterly unadulterated landscapes strewn with Krypton-like mountain ranges and furious winds. And, really, even when staying in an amazing new resort like theÂ Singular PatagoniaÂ just outside of Puerto Natales, it’s no different. Never mind the daily-changing farm-fresh menus, the marshmallowy beds, and the massive holistic spa at this former-meat-processing-plant-turned-industrial-mod hotel, what really stuck with me were the same experiences that people have been having here for centuries: fording a river on horseback, hiking a glacier, kayaking through fjords, and stalking those cuddly cousins of the camel, guanacos. Sure, I might be fooling myselfâ€”I never had to rough it in a wind-battered tent, and even the strenuous nine-hour hike to las torres never really got to the point of “dangerous”â€”but how often do you get to hang out with a bunch of gauchos slamming beers right before they mount a bucking bronco? Not too often. more»