Archive | Travel RSS feed for this section

HOT IN THE HAMPTONS: The Driftwood Resort on the Ocean, Montauk

19 Aug

By Christabelle…@CBellesCloset (*Pure Editorial, Non-Paid Post*sample)

When I link the term ‘pristine’ to an actual place, only one comes to mind- Montauk, Long Island. A place that is rustic yet lavish; air so fresh it totally engulfs you in all its warm summer glory- a 50 on a scale from 1-10. Ad if you are a long time reader of my blog, you know my love affair with this quaint village began back in the 1980’s when my parent’s bought a place on Fort Pond Bay.

Driftwood Montauk

With heavy heart, our property sold last year, but my yearning for my days on the east end did not cease. With great delight, I have found my NEXT heaven on earth at The Driftwood Resort. Tucked off of 27 East, across from famed Cyrils Fish House, I have passed this oasis innumerable times en route to MTK, but only until now realized its beauty, style and breathtaking grounds. This property, a hidden gem on the border of Napeague and Montauk,  has cemented my lifelong tradition of sojourning east every summer and I will no doubt be residing at this divine resort when I do.

The Driftwood has been offering impeccable service and accommodations to guests for years, building its superb reputation for making you feel like you and your enjoyment are the #1 priority, as it should be; yet at Driftwood they go above and beyond to ensure you really are enjoying your stay. From the heated pool, the tennis courts, fully equipped gym, bbq’s, movie nights and pilates on the beach, I was kept busy with all the amazing activities offered (I was even happy on rainy Driftwood days). My favorite amenity of course, being the private white sand beach (which allows for bonfires at night!) only footsteps away from my front door.

Curling my toes in the soft sand, resting my eyes upon the tranquil sea and disappearing sun behind bursts of reds and pinks, hearing the calming chatter of sea gulls nearby as my hair blows in the warm sea breeze; a euphorically amazing state of relaxation, thinking about how I was fortunate enough to find another “happy place” to rest my sometimes stressed out soul.  The term ‘escape’ took on a whole new meaning while I found I could no longer remember my worries; an unadvertised perk of the Driftwood.

Beach services are outstanding. The Cabana Staff are extremely nice, organized and attentive (Dean in one word ROCKS), making your trek to the beach more about your relaxation and enjoyment of all the beach has to offer and less about the work it takes to get there. Don’t worry about the lifting and carrying of items like chairs, umbrellas and towels…the dreaded setting up and and sunset break-downn – they do that for you.  Your priority becomes YOU…R&R, enjoyment of breathing in the fresh salty air and feasting your eyes upon panoramic views of pure beauty. Another wonderful beach amenity was a 90 minute,  amazing massage right near the water’s edge.  Talk about the ultimate get away!

When you book, be sure to keep abreast of the various events that are happening during your stay, such as concerts, fireworks, farmer’s markets, etc., that are hosted by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. Rooms are comfortable, cozy and fully stocked with all the essentials (including Frette luxe towels), and I would know, I stayed in four different ones*! All of which delighted me and made me feel more than at home- in fact they made me feel better than home-a luxurious beach cottage “home”. Every request, whim, need and desire was granted by the front desk staff – Deniz and Tom go the extra mile to be  helpful – to the point, you want to ask them to join you for a BBC at Cyrils Fish House across the road after work (and noted, that I am actually guilty of wanting to hang out with them off duty).

Total bonus for the summer months? Fresh Direct DOES INDEED deliver to the Driftwood – making the kitchen/kitchenette even more useful if you come via the Hampton Jitney bus (which drops you off less then a 1/2 mile down the road in front of the (now closed) Sharehouse Restaurant).

To book with the Driftwood Resort located at 2178 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954, call  631-668-5744 or visit – and tell them Christabelle sent you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Décor and furniture differ depending on unit.


signature xo CC




Quaint, Cozy, Back to Nature: Carmel-by-the-Sea

24 Jun

By Christabelle… @CBellesCloset (*Pure Editorial, Non-Paid Post)

Imagine “Any City USA” (in my case, NYC) and all of its hustling-bustling glory. The blinding lights that never go out, the persistent honking of EVERY car, taxi and bus on the roads, the smothering smog that hangs in the air, the no-sense-of-personal-space commuters and yes, that indescribable, odoriferous odor that wafts through every street come trash days (especially in the heat of the summer).

NOW …imagine the complete ANTITHESIS of all that… a small hometown with NO traffic lights, NO honking, NO street address numbers and even a law against wearing high heels.  A place where people are kind, genuine, polite and always friendly; the alluring scents of dewy grass, fragrant flowers and pine needles consistently kiss your nostrils – regardless of whether or not it is trash day. I know what you are thinking ‘where on EARTH is this place and when can I go?’…

HofsasThe town is Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.  The the place to rest your weary head is the  Hofsas House (located between 3rd & 4th Ave on San Carlos Street), and the time you need to go is NOW (did you not read the paragraph above? get with the program).  Carmel-by-the-Sea, often called simply Carmel, is a small city on the Monterey Peninsula. Founded in 1902,  Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history.

If my intro didn’t entice you enough, I am confident my own personal experience in Carmel and at the Hofsas House will. This family owned 38-room boutique establishment was the ultimate getaway with ocean views overlooking the pines. It makes you want to turn off the TV, shut down the iPad, let your cell phone die (and not re-charge it), kick your shoes off and enjoy the sun and stars as your sources of light. With her inviting persona and ideal location, the Hofsas House is a prime vacation spot for a romantic weekend away with your honey or for a solo trip to reconnect with YOU (which is what I opted for after a business trip to San Fran). Hofsas House is like a luxurious massage that never ends – ridding unnecessary stresses upon entering the front Dutch door.  The charming decor added just the right amount of familiarity for instant comfort yet the amenities quietly reminded me I was on VACATION: cozy king size bed, a private kitchen stocked with wine and cheese, a fireplace (indoor s’mores anyone?!) and the front balcony overlooking the most glorious gifts of nature. The Pacific Ocean glistened with tiny diamonds in the horizon – I was officially off the clock (at least for 3 days).

With a glass of wine in hand, I grabbed a book (Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D. –  oh, the irony), curled up with a blanket on the balcony, and embraced the views of the immaculate sunset Hofsas House has become famous for, staying just long enough to welcome the full moon.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my trip was the Carmel-Wine-Walk by-the-Sea™ and I recommend you make time for it. ‘Sip , swish and spit’ at your own pace, visiting 9 different tasting rooms all stocked with local estate-grown still and sparkling wines (all within a 1X1 square mile radius). Don’t forget your ‘passport (which you can get it at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center) – it provides a $10 flight at each room . Each sampler offers something unique, you spend the day with wonderful folks, and all the wines are locally crafted to perfection. Best of all if you do buy a bottle (I purchased and very much enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc from Wrath Tasting Room and Merlot from Shale Canyon Wines), the corkage fee is waived from most restaurants in the Carmel area, including Mundaka.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The landscaping, food and design at Mundaka (San Carlos Street between Ocean and 7th Ave) makes you feel like you have traveled to Spain (even my waiter had an accent!). With indoor and outdoor seating and a mouth-watering menu, I opted for a courtyard table. I sat solo near a fountain that offered the most picturesque backdrop for my spectacular meal. True to my intro where I described people as kind and friendly, a group of people who sat nearby struck up a conversation and asked me to join them. As it turns out, they had all just met as well (try doing that in NYC and you might just get yourself arrested!).  Sitting with my new set of dinner companions, it came time to order. Our waiter was from Spain, and his accent and heritage only added to my belief that I had “beamed” myself over-seas. With his help, my dinner delights included (hold back your drool):

Tartare: beef tartare, house chips, 6 minute egg
Rusa: shrimp, potatoes, peas, carrots, aioli, forty-minute egg
Bravas: fried potatoes, brava sauce, aioli
Datiles: bacon wrapped dates, goat cheese, almond
Gratin: potato,butternut squash,mahon cheese
Hamburguesa: mini lamb burger, pickled cauliflower, truffle fries

Deliciously decadent and perfectly portioned, the only negative thing I have to report is  I stuffed myself silly! At the end of our meal the owner came out to ensure everything was prepared to our liking. Fabulous Sangria, food and (new) friends – I couldn’t ask for much more (but I did when I requested the waiter to surprise me with dessert and he brought out something I can only describe as “death by chocolate crepe”. CC muerto!

I have had a long-standing love for Dr. Seuss (little known fact: I wrote all of my college entrance essays inside a drawing of  “The Cat in the Hat” ), so you can imagine my delight when I came upon the Art of Dr. Seuss gallery.  Located on San Carlos Street, it’s a must see – I walked right back in time and my 6 year-old self squealed with delight at the framed masterpieces.  My favorite showcased was his original rendering of the ‘Cat’ (for obvious reasons).

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” – Dr. Seuss

Upon my departure, I sipped my last cup of mint tea on the Hofsas House back deck and “reflection hour” commenced .

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a true gift – a hidden charm that up until this trip remained unknown to me (and likely you).  A village that reflects Dutch architectural charm, Pleasantville’s poise, yet oozes artistic expression and left-brain flow – it gets my highest rating (Fact: After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the village was inundated with musicians, writers, painters and other artists turning to the established artist colony after the bay city was destroyed).

Now I cannot bash my Big Apple too much…she is my heart and I really do love living here, but ever comes the day that  the owners of Hofsas House want to adopt me, Carmel-by-the-Sea might just be the place for me!

The Hofsas House
Address: San Carlos St,
Carmel, CA 93921
(831) 624-2745




Carmel-by-the-Sea is an exceptionally dog-friendly city. Most hotels allow dogs to stay with guests. Almost all restaurants that offer outside dining allow dogs in those areas, with most of them also offering water. A few have special “doggie menus.” Many retailers allow dogs to accompany their owners in their stores and many have treats available. Water bowls and dog biscuits can also be found in front of many stores.

UNUSUAL LAWS (Ladies, leave the Louboutins at HOME):

Though often mistakenly thought of as an urban myth, the municipal code prohibits wearing shoes having heels more than 2 inches in height or with a base of less than one square inch unless the wearer has obtained a permit for them. While the local police do not cite those in violation of the ordinance, this seemingly peculiar law was authored by the city attorney in the 1920s to defend the city from lawsuits resulting from wearers of high-heeled shoes tripping over irregular pavement distorted by tree roots. Permits are available without charge at City Hall.


Carmel-by-the-Sea experiences a cool summer Mediterranean climate  normal in coastal areas of California. The wet season is from October to May.  September and October (Indian Summer) offer the best weather of the year, with an average high of 72 °F (22 °C).

* (Source: wiki)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Social Tree w words

signature xo CC


Glamping…Just My Flute of Glampagne

5 Jun

(*Pure Editorial, Non-Paid Post)
Christabelle is #Obsessed with this…@CBellesCloset

You love the great outdoors, you really do but you were somehow gifted with that sweet blood mosquitoes crave. Not only that but your body simply doesn’t do well sleeping on the ground and, let’s be honest, it takes no small amount of lighter fluid and matches for you to warm your hands over an open fire.


Travel inspiration website DreamPlanGo suggests you go “glamping” instead.  Short for glamorous camping, glamping gives travelers the best of both indoor and outdoor worlds. As in, explore the majesty of Yellowstone, but return to a down bed and gourmet meal at the end of the day. Sound alright? Keep reading.

Choosing your glampsite – Unlike traditional camping where pitching a tent and maybe inflating an air mattress are your only accommodation options, glamping offers you much more to choose from. Does a treetop abode with running water and goose-down comforters speak to you? What about a yurt or villa? Regardless of your budget, country preference or sleeping needs, you’re bound to find a glampsite that speaks to you.

No need to pack – You’ll still need to bring clothes, of course, and hiking gear, but no need to do the heavy lifting. Leave the cookware, lanterns, sleeping bags and clumsy tent at home.

What you’ll be doing – The beauty of glamping is that you can still enjoy the rush of fly fishing and reinvigorating hikes, you just won’t have to worry about meals or getting a poor night’s sleep. Depending on where you glamp, you may even have access to more activities and excursions than you would camping. Many hosts are extremely knowledgeable and will go to great lengths to ensure you have memorable experiences to write home about.

Enjoy your summer glampfire &  glampagne!


signature xo CC


1 Sunset Serenade in Belize, PLEASE…

27 Mar

By Christabelle… @CBellesCloset (*Pure Editorial, Non-Paid Post) 

Having dated MANY an artist, I am all too familiar with what I like to call “MWS”, AKA  ‘music withdrawal syndrome’ – don’t bother googling it. I made that up!

It is the moment that you are on vacation and the person you are travelling with starts to yearn obsessively for their sweet Taylor, Martin or even Harmony back at home. The obsession leads to air strumming and making every coconut, tree branch and sun umbrella into a make-shift guitar. I’ve even had my bare leg used as a pseudo acoustic  – not fun!Turtle Inn Guitar

Leave it to the Coppola Resorts to step onto a luxurious page of its own with this new offering at his Belizean resort Turtle InnCOMPLIMENTARY GUITARS TO ALL REGISTERED GUESTS.


Music lovers need not despair any longer…Turtle Inn, Francis Ford Coppola’s beachside resort in Belize, is now offering complimentary guitars for guests to use at their leisure – whether it’s for a moonlit serenade with family and friends or a private concert for two in a seafront villa. This musical experience will complete your stay in paradise.  To secure a guitar for one day or for  your whole stay, you do need to make a reservation (and methinks this popular added amenity will be a popular one, so my advice would be to book your guitar when you book your stay at this exclusive resort).

To make a reservation or inquire about more information regarding Turtle Inn, call (501) 824-4912/14 or visit  If you are looking for a travel companion – my calendar is clear!

Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn, Belize

About Francis Ford Coppola Resorts

The Coppola Resorts are a collection of unique award-winning properties where stylish and eco-friendly exploration and discovery meets serenity and delight. Drawing upon inspiration from his film career and travels to the far reaching corners of the world, each resort is an ideal destination known for the intuitive nature of the friendly staff to the allure of exploring the natural wonders of the area while relaxing in tranquil surroundings. Francis puts it best saying, “There are things to do – or just do nothing.” The Coppola Resorts offer a glimpse into the values that Francis holds dear – family, fun, adventure, and great food and wine. These elements can be seen throughout each property, weaved into the landscape, creating a personal Coppola connection for all to enjoy. The Coppola Resort properties at Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have been listed as the “Best Resorts in Central + South America” by Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as many other travel authorities.



signature xo CC


Where are you watching the Sunset…?

20 Oct

By Christabelle… @CBellesCloset (*Pure Editorial, Non-Paid Post,*)

Tybee Island, GA voted a top place to watch the sunset – we see why!
Photo: Al Powell

No need to span the nation looking for the perfect place to watch magical sunsets – USA TODAY readers did it for you and voted Tybee Island, Georgia, a vacation paradise located just 20 minutes east of historic Savannah, one of the 10 Best Places to Watch a Sunset.  Tybee joined a variety of popular sunset destinations including Key West, Fla. and Sedona, Ariz.

With five miles of beaches, great seafood and a wide range of outdoor activities, Tybee Island proudly offers plenty of family-friendly fun all year-round. Tybee Island is an ideal place to ride bikes, collect shells, hike, swim, fish, shop, dine, sunbathe, jet ski, parasail, kiteboard, surf or kayak. However visitors spend their days, they love the authentic Southern beach town atmosphere that defines Tybee Island.

Southern Living has honored Tybee Island as one of America’s “Perfect Little Beach Towns.” Parents magazine has included Tybee on its annual list of the Best Beaches for Families, and Fodor’s has named the island one of the Best Family Beaches on the East Coast.

The 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award contest launches one new category each week, revealing its 20 nominees. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of experts. In week five, winners are revealed, from an award category launched four weeks prior. The public can vote online for one nominee per category, per day. provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

Are you looking for the perfect vacation on the East Coast? Tybee Island just might be the perfect place for you…For more information about Tybee Island:

sign off with lips


%d bloggers like this: