I have come to the conclusion that I am a tad Yin and Yang. I adore the city but I also thrive on country life. I travel extensively but I also find happiness with my home comforts. I explore the new but always return to my favourites - which is probably why I love visiting contrasting destinations on holiday. With one, you appreciate the other, and this duality is one of the reasons I strongly recommend combining the ever bustling New York City with one of the most beautiful and remote islands on Earth, Kauai in Hawaii.
Whether it's the restaurants and hotels or parks, cafes and galleries, NYC always pulls me back with its incredible fusion of timeless establishments and contemporary innovations.
Where To Lay Your Head
If one is looking for an intimate, boutique hotel The Mercer in the heart of Soho is always one of my recommendations. A sister hotel to Hollywood's infamous Chateau Marmont; this eminently chic abode is reminiscent of stripped-back loft living and situated in a Romanesque revival building. The restaurant is also a must (book in advance).
What's more, a stone's throw from The Mercer is Dean and Deluca, the world's best delicatessen and a definite blueprint for contemporary delis the world over. Brimming with foraged produce from artisanal creators, I often love to indulge before visiting the museums (I particularly love MOMA and The Met).
Uptown Treasures & Downtown Gems
Go for a drink at the bar at The Mandarin Oriental overlooking Central Park at dusk. The shimmering lights of the city and uninterrupted views over the park make this one of the best views in town.
I also often like to escape to the café culture and buzzy but laid back vibe of Downtown. Make the most of any early morning jetlag and walk The High Line with a coffee picked up from Jack's Stir Brew (in the Rag and Bone store) in the Meatpacking District. The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side. For all you culture vultures, The Whitney Museum of American Art is also well worth a visit whilst you are in this neighbourhood.
Another favourite restaurant of mine is The Odeon, an old school classic in Tribeca that helped define 80s New York. The food is delicious and having been frequented by the likes of Warhol, De Niro and Belushi, it is no wonder that the restaurant has continually attracted a chic crowd through the decades.
Breakfast and brunch are also undoubtedly a big deal in New York and two of my favourite places to indulge my taste buds are 'Gemmas' at The Bowery Hotel (a relaxed haunt, perfect for people spotting) and 'By Chloe' (a Vegan Restaurant in Greenwich Village, which will lure in even the most carnivorous customer due to its culinary masterpieces).
Shop 'Till You Drop
I like to shop in Soho and The West Village, as the stores are often architecturally impressive and unique in their offering (the vintage stores are also legendary!). Don't forget to explore Brooklyn's treasure trove Flea Markets for other magical finds.
A beautiful contrast to the vibrancy of New York City is the stunning Kauai; Hawaii's Garden Island, which is famous for its lush, breathtaking scenery and peaceful serenity.
Where To Lay Your Head
I love to stay at the St Regis Princeville for its luxurious attention to detail and inimitable location, which offers unrivalled picturesque views of Hanalei Bay and the Na'Pali coastline (including the iconic Bali Hai).
Island Hot Spots
The North Shore of Kauai has so much to offer, from its deserted beaches to hiking trails with glistening waterfalls. The village of Hanalei is surrounded by the soaring Na'Pali Mountains and fronted by a dramatic, sweeping crescent beach of powdery sand. It has to be one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. For the more adventurous, there are excellent watersports from surfing in the bay to paddle boarding up the Hanalei River.
Further North along the shore is Haena Beach which has starred as 'Paradise' in multiple movies. Anini Beach (South of Hanalei), shielded by a beautiful reef, is another must and a perfect spot for snorkelling!
Off The Beaten Path
Take a helicopter ride over the rugged wilderness of the Na'pali Coast and feast your eyes on the dense jungle, awe-inspiring waterfalls and deserted beaches only accessible by foot or boat.
Stop at the local farmers' markets and support the locals, as there are a multitude of artisanal producers on Kauai offering delicious locally grown tropical fruits, vegetables and honey.
Waimea Canyon at sunrise or sunset also should not be missed. Described as 'The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,' I love to watch the ever-changing colours as the sun dances across its deep valley gorges and red-earthed peaks.