American Idyll

I have a handful of favourite hotels in the world that I like to stay at, time and time again, when I'm travelling for business. (I know. I'm boring. But I think I'd rather walk off a 14-hour flight and straight into a familiar space than wonder if the new hotel I've booked into will even remember that I'm coming!) These are hotels where you can check in with ease, even if it's 10AM, and where the doorman remembers your name, even if it's been two years since you've seen him. They're hotels where the interiors are stylish and intriguing, but you're not paying a premium for the privilege of seeing them, and where the pool deck, breakfast terrace, library and reception area are always filled with fresh towels, a selection of tea, coffee and snacks, lots of books and informative things to read through - preferably about the city you're in. Most importantly, these are hotels that are affordable - usually between A$100 and $250/night  - but they somehow make you feel as though you're in a $1000 suite.

Some of these hotels include the Dean Street Townhouse in London's Soho (love the luxurious bathrooms fitted with supplies from the Cowshed spa), the Viceroy in LA, the Pantheon and Senat in Paris, The Landing in the Bahamas, and the Night Hotel in New York City. But perhaps my favourite hotel is The Moorings, one of the most sublime hideaways I've ever seen.

Located in a charming place called Islamorada ("Village of Islands"), which is set halfway down the Florida Keys, The Moorings is actually an enclave of extraordinary beach houses scattered around an old coconut grove on the Bahamas side of the ocean. Designed by Herbert Baudoin, one of the loveliest gentleman you'll ever meet, this pocket of postcard-worthy prettiness is so photogenic that Ralph Lauren, Bruce Weber, Vogue, Jennifer Lopez and dozens of other names regularly use it for photo shoots. The week I was here to shoot the place, George Bush Sr was in the house next door, the Secret Service were on the beach and Victoria’s Secret were shooting the next catalogue on the pier. Such an oxymoronic scene, but everyone was happy. And who wouldn’t be, staying here?

For more details, see The Moorings website - (which really doesn't do the place justice).  But in the meantime, here are some of my favourite scenes...

(And let me know what your favourite hotels are, too. Would love to hear of them.)

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