Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
There is a Jewish proverb that states, "No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell." My gene pool and I share some travel escapades that would make the Griswald's look like “Ozzie and Harriet.” I fondly recall summers as a child when my family and I would take one of two kinds of vacations: either we would go to visit relatives in Wichita Falls, Texas, where temperatures were known to reach 117 degrees, or we would go camping, where tempers and tensions could reach similar extremes. Dead Oak Campground was a location we often frequented and it definitely lived up to all its name implied . . . and more. I often thought that it resembled what I had imagined the end of the world might look like right before Jesus swoops down and takes
me off to heaven.
We had one of those pop-up trailers that we had to crank up as if we were retrieving water from a wishing well. The trailer hitch, for some strange reason, had to be checked and re-checked about 40 gazillion times, as did the brake lights and turn signals. Most times, either the lights or the lifting of the trailer onto the hitch would go tragically wrong and send my Dad off into a godless rant of four letter words.
Aaah the memories . . . .
I've heard it said that a vacation is “what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer.” This profound statement pretty much sums up my past week. My children were at their last week of camp, and being weary of missing them, I decided to plan a little "staycation" for the Hubbs and me. I began tossing around ideas to him, which were met with a pivot of his head and slight nod, as if to say, "I don't have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem." My response to his lack of involvement was less than lady-like, reminiscent of my Dad's rants, but with less Aqua Velva.
So, my suggestion was to don the swimwear, grab a towel, and head off to our community pool. Before the Hubbs and I were first married, there was no pre-nup, which would divide assets if things later went South, only an unwritten mutual-decay contract that bound him to not point out that I discovered a new little French bakery this year that makes delicious apricot tarts - (and now I have 2 apricot tarts of my own just above my hip bones) and bound me, likewise, to not comment on the fact that he would make a glass of milk look tan.
I figured, at the very least, that being poolside I could get chin-deep in a new book I'd just picked up from the library. When my eyeballs got tired of reading, I decided
to people watch - the following is a stream of consciousness, of sorts, that I'd like to share:
Hmmmm . . . . Good tan . . . WOW! Those can't be real . . . blech! Back hair . . . Its called man-scaping, look into it . . . Nice hair (since its not purple) . . . Bone rat . . . More bone rat . . . Seriously, people, eat a burger or something . . . LADY! Your kid is drowning! LADY! . . . Rhinoplasty, I have a number . . . Wench, I wish I had a body like that . . . Thong swimsuits should have a weight limit . . . I'm just sayin'.
So when we returned, I had an e-mail from a friend who was in Los Angeles on business. He had sent me a photo of his hotel room at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, thinking I might appreciate the decor — thoughtful, huh? It took me a minute, but I realized that his hotel was decorated by one of my most favorite designers, Kelly Wearstler! I e-mailed him back and asked for the favor of a few more photos, and boy did he come through! The following photos, as it ended up, were just enough to make me feel as though I had been on a lovely trip, complete with a swanky bar, posh room and sunny luxe pool!
The Viceroy in Santa Monica was originally built in the late 1960s as the Pacific Shore Hotel. And as I said earlier it is a designer masterpiece re-imagined by Kelly Wearstler. Guests enter the hotel via over-sized doors leading into an elaborately designed hotel lobby. Regency-style furniture decorates the large drawing rooms along with a scattering of antiques. This leads to a more intimate library area with chaise lounges, sofas, and the upholstered club chairs. A bar runs across the lobby with dark wood lining the area occupied by light chairs and amazing fabrics. The restaurant overlooks an outdoor pool area accented by cabanas and a separate lounge of its own.
Each room is decorated with extensive moldings, Lucite tables, beveled mirrors and regency-style furnishings. The beds are made with luxurious linens and the bathrooms have marble showers and whitewash armoires to continue the swanky theme.
Photos courtesy Keith Crawford
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