Palm Springs weekend

There's no better way to start another New Year than to have a little fun in the sun. And there's no place i'd rather spend it than my happy place Palm Springs. What's not to love? Sunshine, sunbathing and swimming! And all whilst being surrounded by amazing mid-century architecture. 

Palm Springs is the ultimate California JetSetter destination, and it's also the next in-line for the "My JetSetter Life" city guide series. Here are some of my hot spots.

Desert Star

Design District

Weekend at Lake Tahoe

The beauty of living in California, is not only the weather but the proximity  to the Ocean, National Parks, vineyards and mountains. Located high up in the Sierra Nevada lies Lake Tahoe, (on the boarder of California and Nevada) the largest alpine lake in North America. Lake Tahoe is known for it's crystal clear waters, beautiful vistas, Casinos (across State-line in Nevada) and the panoramic mountains that surround the lake on all sides. The lake is a major tourist attraction and home to many ski resorts that flourish in the Winter months and during the Summer is popular for outdoor recreation, boating and camping. Being based in San Francisco you can be in Tahoe within four hours (traffic permitting) and that is where we adventured too this weekend.

Basecamp Hotel

Basecamp is a new boutique hotel in South Lake Tahoe, that faces out to the Heavenly ski resort (a short 4 minute walk to the Gondola) and only a 5 minute walk to the lake. 

The hotel offers affordable motel style accommodation with cozy comforts and quirky rustic details. The staff are welcoming and knowledgable, with great restaurant recommendations (don't chance it to yelp) and fun recreational activities. The lobby features a log burning fire, reclaimed wood details and a small bar that hosts nightly happy hour. Enjoy drinks inside cozied up in front of the fire or at one of the two fire pits (one on the outside patio or on the roof terrace) where you can meet new friends and toast s'mores, which the hotel will happily provide for you (a kit will cost you $2.) The hotel also boasts a rooftop hot tub that looks out to the mountains, which is perfect for warming up on a cold winters night after your days adventure. Breakfast is included during your stay, and is served in the lobby. Enjoy fresh coffee, bagels, pastries and oatmeal to kick start your day.

Rooms are stylish and clean with boutique cabin essentials, warm woolen blankets and plenty of rustic charm. Some offer balconies and pet friendly rooms are also available, along with specialty rooms for larger groups. For those of you that want to experience the charm of camping but with the comforts of home, reserve "The Great Indoors" room. Here you can sleep peacefully, undisturbed by wildlife inside a tent with king bed. The room also features a faux fire pit, glowing stars and your own private bathroom.

The location is the perfect "base-camp" for all your Tahoe adventures.

Photography is by My JetSetter Life, except the Great indoors room which is from Basecamp

Exploring Lake Tahoe

If snow sports are not your thing, there is still plenty to see and explore whilst you are visiting Lake Tahoe. Situated just outside South Lake lies Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe's most photographed and Popular locations. During the summer months the park offers incredible beaches and crystal clear blue shores. The park houses Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that was constructed in 1929, along with the only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island which houses what is left of "Tea House", a building constructed by the owner of Vikingsholm, Mrs Lora Josephine Knight.

Emerald Bay State Park and Fannette Island

Before you enter Emerald Bay State Park, and just off the I-89 is Eagle falls trail. The hike is short and moderate, but offers spectacular views of the cascading falls into Emerald bay and Lake Tahoe. 

Eagle Falls Trail, Lake Tahoe

Another way to pass the time is to take in the beautiful scenery by driving around  Lake Tahoe, especially out of the Summer season when the roads are less crowded. I suggest you take the loop West along the I-89, which will take you through California first, with the lake directly on your right which will allow you plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to admire and photograph the beautiful vista points. The roads can be narrow and very windy so be careful.

Taking in the views from Kings Beach at North Lake Tahoe


If skiing and snow boarding are not your cup of tea, don't fret, you can still enjoy the altitude, mountain views and snow by taking the tram up 8,200" to High Camp at Squaw Valley. Enjoy warm apple cider, cocoa and lunch at "The Terrace" whilst taking in the stunning views from the warmth and comfort of your table.

After lunch explore the Olympic museum that showcases the 1960 Winter Olympics that took place here at Squaw Valley. Bundle up and step out on to one of several terraces and watch the snowboarders and ski bunnies, with the spectacular mountain views and Lake Tahoe below. The camp also provides a beautiful outside ice skating rink with stunning views of the valley.

There are plenty of misleading yelp recommendations and restaurant tourist traps in South Lake Tahoe and although Heavenly Village is walkable, the choices available are limited. Our Hotel recommended MacDuff's, a Scottish public house offering great tasting traditional pub food and freshly made wood-fired pizzas and plenty of beer. 

Another great choice was Himmel Haus, a German restaurant featuring a wide variety of German and Belgian beers and Bavarian inspired food. The Belgian Frites (twice fried potatoes) served with curry ketchup and roasted galic aioli were amazing, and if you are looking for something comforting after a long day out in the cold, then try the Kase-Spatzle- Smoked gouda, imported swiss, and aged white cheddar cheese spatzle and topped with pretzel breadcrumbs, yum. Both restaurants are drivable, and within 2 miles of Basecamp hotel.

Mexico City

My backpacking life part 5…….

The final part of our Central America adventure ended with five days in Mexico city. Originally this was to be a twelve hour layover, but as I had to get my work visa renewed we decided to extend the trip and see what Mexico city had to offer.

I had heard Mexico city was an unsafe place to travel too, but our experience was far from it. Of course it is like any big city, just be on your guard and don't put yourself into dangerous situations. We walked around the city, travelled on the city subway (the second largest in North America after New York city) took cabs around at night and generally felt pretty safe.

Mexico City offers a vast array of culture, museums, color, food and a surprising amount of Mid Century modern. It is important to do your research before planning your trip, unlike us who didn't prepare much for our stay. What we did discover was either by luck or though the little research we did whilst we were there. Here are some of the highlights.

Museo Nacional de Antropologia

I strongly recommend that during your visit that you check out this amazing museum. Not only to see the history of Mexico including the arrival of the Spanish, archeological discoveries and the Aztec and Mayan empires but also to marvel in the amazing architecture by Pedro Ramirez Vasques. The museum opened in 1964 and is the largest museum in Latin America

Museo de Arte Moderno

This mid century museum designed by Pedro Ramirez Vasquez houses the work of the best known 20th-century Mexican artists including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Juan O' Gorman.

Marvel at Mid_Century from above

Frida Kahlo Museum

The Frida Kahlo museum is definitely worth the pilgrimage out to the suburb of Coyoacan. The vibrant blue house was once home to Frida Kahlo herself and houses her personal belongings, paintings along with her signature Mexican regional clothing and jewelry. The exhibit also includes work by Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano who have been inspired by Frida's looks in their couture shows. Stop by La Casa de Pan on Avenida Mexico and Calle Xicotencati for amazing gluten free breakfast, lunch or just sample their array of breads and pastries. Whilst you are in the area take a walk around the beautiful park Viveros de Coyoacan, absorb the sounds and smells at Mercado de Coyoacan a bustling indoor market and then stroll around Jardin del Centenario.

Romita Comedor

Indulge, and enjoy the ambiance at Romita Comedor located in the Colonia Roma district. The restaurant sits in the light of the stunning large retractable glass atrium window located on the top floor of 49 Avenida Alvaro Obregon.

Otro Cafe

Located in the Zona Rosa district at Calle Londres 37. This cafe serves up some of the best coffee in the city. Sit and relax amongst cool vintage finds and mid century trinkets. The cafe hosts an adorable outside patio with brightly colored vintage chairs. After, go browse the independent boutiques at Bazar Fusion located in the building above.

Downtown Mexico

For our final night in Mexico city, I decided that there was no better way to end this adventure than to enjoy the comforts of a luxury room at Downtown Mexico. Located in the historic district of the city, Downtown is a perfect blend of 17th-century grandeur with a raw industrial edge. It remains as one of the oldest buildings in the area, and the architects of the hotel have done a spectacular job in keeping with the original regal style and preserving the ornate detailing.

The hotel was absolutely stunning, with a rooftop pool, hot tub and bar that overlooks historic buildings of downtown Mexico. Our room was one of 17 that faced out onto the beautiful courtyard and balcony. The rooms are stripped back, industrial bohemian-chic with wooden beds which feature an iPod dock and integrated lighting. Definitely worth the splurge for a JetSetter experience.

Downtown Mexico

Stunning industrial Elevator and mid century chairs

Industrial Rooftop pool