Snow clings to the ridgeline framed by my bedroom window. So as escape, I imagine another rugged white landscape: the Mediterranean coastline of Spain. The small fishing village of Cadaqués exudes charm with its bohemian meets cosmopolitan vibe, a place long loved by artists and writers now primed for an even greater following with the new Tramuntana Hotel. Anchored in the old town, Tramuntana’s 11 rooms, beautifully designed by Barcelona-based firm Intsight, come in M, L and XL sizes. A locavore breakfast and a pillow-plush lobby pulls guests from their stylish slumber, ready to embrace sun-washed adventures. Wedged between the sea and mountains, Cadaqués calls me from my snow-steeped slumber, into this perfectly playful spring jacket by Valentine Gauthier.
You had me at bathtub. Abode, the first boutique hotel in Mumbai, India, boasts 20 airy rooms dressed in an eclectic design mix, from art deco-inspired custom tile floors to bedside tables repurposed from roadside chaat stands and vintage saris as upholstery. With beds wrapped in cotton linen and robes and handmade slippers at the ready, I would take a break from the Bombay bustle in this breezy jacket by Valentine Gauthier, aptly made in a small, NGO-run workshop in India.
But I digress; back to Abode. Nestled in Colaba, a historic part of town rich with landmark buildings, Abode’s own was built in 1910 as the private residence of an influential entrepreneur. Now, its stately wood-and-iron façade is augmented by a neon light installation quoting Bombay native, Rudyard Kipling. “If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs the world is yours.” Truth.
A tiresome day of (tax) tasks leaves me feeling like I’m climbing, always climbing, destination unknown. Instead, I’ll imagine ascending these millennia-old stairs up Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in the Anhui Province of southeast China, in this stylishly reversible Nobis coat. The moody mist would pull me out of my cloud.
Time to unlock my latent talents. If I still lived in Brooklyn, I would beeline for the Textile Arts Center and take a class with one of the rising star designers on the faculty roster. Oh, the dilemma of what to do: Coil baskets? Dye indigo? Weave with nature? Paint tees with Rachel Rose, maker of this wavy silk top?
Beyond the bevy of adult and youth classes, the Center also houses Sewing Seeds, a program dedicated to disseminating information and inspiration on natural dyes. Did you know carrot tops, onion skins and rhubarb leaves can be used to dye fabric? News to me too.
In plotting my return to urban life, I’m scouting escape routes: accessible adventures doable over weekends. Steep Revine Cabins belie their proximity to the Bay Area – only an hour’s drive north – by offering seaside seclusion in Mount Tamalpais State Park (only reserved guests know the gate code). I love camping sans tents; each of the 10 cabins offer a table, benches, sleeping platforms (akin to two doubles), a countertop, closet and – best of all – wood-burning stove (all for $100 a night). Crashing surf, crackling fire, bundling up in big sweaters as the sun falls away: perfect weekend wilderness.
As the World Design Capital 2014, Cape Town will be awash all year in design projects aimed at transforming the city. With more than 470 initiatives in the works, the city will live out design as a way to reconnect, reconcile, communicate, transform, solve and inspire. An ambitious mission to be sure, every creative in Cape Town seems to have rallied behind the cause, making 2014 the year to visit Cape Town. Some hotels are helping their guests tap into the creativity coursing through the city: as the New York Times reported yesterday, the One&Only Cape Town is organizing tours of the Lalela Project’s arts education program in the Imizamo Yethu settlement, as well as curator-led tours of contemporary galleries in the city, with stops including Whatiftheworld, a gallery set in a decommissioned synagogue specializing in emerging artists. I’m going; all I needed was a deadline.
It’s been years since I climbed a tree – a confession that, once made, must be remedied. This NoCal treehouse – wedged within a mighty eucalyptus tree – beckons the all-too grounded (me). Weathered stairs lead three stories up to a bi-level cabin bracketed by bark. Neighbors include horses, a barn beloved by the Grateful Dead, and a cozy wine-country town. But I would leave all that below and nest – wrapped in flannel, with a book or New Yorkers, falling in and out of naps, writing some, sans cellular. Suspended.