Five Places I Want to Go in 2016

Fellah Hotel Hey, friends! Since Em shared her travel wish list last week, I thought it would be fun to share my own. Our lists are preeetty different…haha! But I think they both look like a lot of fun.

My list is focused on one of my current obsessions—hotels! I guess it’s probably influenced by my own stage in life, but this past year I’ve been obsessed with design in hotels, restaurants and homes. Any space where the owner goes ALL OUT to create something really unique is fascinating to me…especially in a world where so many hotels, restaurants and homes look the same.

So in my travels this coming year (and really probably the next few years), I want to take more time to research, learn about and visit special places with strong design perspectives.

Here are five places that I would LOVE to travel to this year!

The Surf LodgeThe Surf LodgeThe Surf LodgeThe Surf LodgeThe Surf Lodge 1. The Surf Lodge/Montauk, New York 

I know I’ve mentioned this hotel a few (thousand) times before, but it’s still at the TOP of my list. Not only is it decorated in my PRIME color scheme and the inspiration behind our color washed living room floor, but it’s also in Montauk, a place we’ve been wanting to visit since Eternal Sunshine days. Then, this past year, J and I became obsessed with the television show, The Affair (best drama on TV right now in our humble opinions….), and it is set in Montauk as well.

Meet me in Montauk.

We’re SO in!

The Beverly Hills HotelThe Beverly Hills Hotel2. The Beverly Hills Hotel/Beverly Hills, California 

I mean…it’s a pink hotel, covered in palm leaf wallpaper. OF COURSE I have to go there. Even if it’s just for a brunch or a cocktail…it has to happen.


(heart eyes emoji, palm trees emoji…on repeat)


What the what?

This hotel looks incredible. It was tough finding high res photos to share here, but check out this site or search it on Pinterest for more views.

It’s a 1950s dream hotel!

Fellah Hotel Fellah Hotel Fellah Hotel Hotel-fellah-06 4. Fellah Hotel/Marrakech, Morocco (photos via Poppy Talk) 

Whoa. The design here is bananas. Anyone want to go to Morocco with me? We can go rug shopping, eat and then rug shop some more. :)) This hotel is a stunning mix of Moroccan mid-century influences. So much texture…my mind is blown!

Last, but not least! If I had ONE overseas trip for my wish list, it would ABSOLUTELY have to be….

Santorini Greece5. Santorini, Greece (photo via Studio DIY

This past year I felt like someone I was following on Instagram was there EVERY WEEK. It was insane. And every photo made me want to visit more and more! So, I’m not sure if it will happen in 2016 (since we already have our big overseas trip to Chile booked for February), BUT I hope to have the chance to visit soon.

Santorini looks like such a colorful AND relaxing place to be (the two most important travel descriptives in my book!). The relaxing factor is the reason why Tokyo and Paris never make it up to the top of my list (even though we know we NEED to go there sooner or later). On vacations with Jeremy, we don’t like to have a heavy to-do list or a lot of pressure to see sights. We mostly want to eat and swim and wander around. Do you know of any other places that fit that description?

Sigh…well, what do you think? Have you been to any of these places? If you have, PLEASE share a detailed review with me. I’d love to hear! xx. Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Images linked throughout post. 

  • Hi Elsie! I’ve been to Boca Chica and have some photos in high res if you’d like to see them! let me know and I’ll send you some!


  • Does ABM have an address to send fan mail? I work for one of the largest regional magazines in the US and we’re currently in production on our March issue… which just so happens to be our first ever HOTEL issue 🙂 I’d love to drop a copy in the mail for you, Elsie! (You can never have too many gorgeous + full-of-character hotels on your travel wishlist, right?) 😉

  • I’d be happy to show you Marrakech if you go there 🙂 One of my favorite city, such a wonderful light !
    Have a nice day !


  • I love the mid century styles, such fun. if you’re ever doing a stopover on Singapore, then I can recommend the Wanderlust, which has Pantone and other themed rooms. We stayed in the purple one 🙂 Very cool place, and the food in Singapore is to die for.

  • Looks like a great list. Love Greece and heard a lot of good things about Morocco.

  • I’ve got one to add to your list – the Kouros Hotel on Mykonos!

    It is gorgeous! I’ve stayed there twice – I put on a scrapbook event for 70 people there back in 2010 and it couldn’t have been more amazing. Everything about this hotel is absolutely perfect. Plus I know that Elena, the owner, has been a big fan of yours for years on end! 🙂

    Good luck with your travels; I hope you make it to Greece – Mykonos is just a hop and a skip from Santorini!

  • Loving all of these picks! We went to Santorini for our honeymoon, and it was literally like a tiny slice of heaven on Earth. The most amazing sunsets, gorgeous surroundings, and relaxation like nowhere else. You will fall head over clogs for this place!!!

  • If you’re looking for another place to eat, sleep, and wander (possibly on a scooter?), add Hoi An, Vietnam to your list! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, right on the South China Sea, and the food (and fresh fruit!!) is incredible. Be prepared to sweat…

  • If you ever head to New England, I highly recommend checking out Lark Hotels group. I’ve stayed at their hotels in Newport, RI and Narragansett, RI The design is so special, but in addition to that, all of their hotels have the most adorable tapas breakfast spreads included in the stay!

  • Great list. Ace Hotel in the old town in Panama City has amazing design features – beautiful tiles, huge wall hangings and fabulous cocktails!

  • I lived in Morocco for 3 years and Marrakech is truly an experience in and of itself. Be prepared to drink copious amounts of sweet mint tea!

    I have found that fabric/rug shopping in Fez is a bit better because they have different styles and the prices will be cheaper. Also you can experience one of the oldest medieval medina in the world!

    And finally Chefchaouen cannot be missed. It is breathtaking!

  • Hi Elsie

    I lived in Morocco after my divorce I would go back and show you my favourite markets and shops failing that message me anytime for a list of insider tips. I can even teach you to compliment olives in French and Arabic! In the meantime check out some pictures of Chefchouen on Google a moroccan must see surrounded by mountains xo

  • Neat looking places! They are not places that would appear on my list, but as I check things off, I do find my reasons for travel changing as I get older. So who knows – maybe someday!

  • My girlfriend who has been a sailor most of her life decided to venture into doing something she loved. She bought a big ship called a phinisi (long ship) and with her crew, sails all around the islands from Bali. It is a non-diving boat so eating(fully catered)and swimming (snorkeling if you like) is the main itinerary – the coral reef gardens are warm and inviting. Lazing on the deck is always an option too. Please check her out – it seems like something you would like.

  • Robin is so right about the rug thing in Morocco! Seriously hard to get away lol!!

    If you go to Morocco you have to visit El Fenn in Marrakech. It´s the most stunning hotel ever. Amazing decor and a really fab vibe. I live in Marbella, Spain and you can get a ferry across to Morocco from nearby. In fact, you can visit 3 countries and 2 continents in one day – Spain, Gibraltar and Africa! How´s that for a whirlwind trip!?

  • Fellah Hotel looks gorgeous. Can’t wait to see where 2016 takes you!

    Italy’s Finest: Talking Wine & Business With Top Chef Fabio Viviani

  • I’m more on the Airbnb stage right now (probably has to do with my current stage in life, too), but I love to admire beautifully designed hotels on Pinterest and would love to visit some of them one day. But when I think of the hotels I’ve been to, I agree with you that majority of them look very similar. Anyway, I hope you get to visit the ones you listed here and looking forward to seeing some photos on the blog 🙂

  • i think it is SUPER easy to relax in Paris. You can have a picnic anywhere, there are chairs in all the parks for hanging out, and you definitely don’t have to worry about seeing the sights. If you wander around with no map or ideas in mind, you will accidentally run into everything “worth seeing” and so much more. 🙂

  • I stayed at the Surf Lodge for two nights during my honeymoon trip, it is by far the coolest place I’ve ever been at.

  • definitely go to santorini if you can! it is amazing. we were there two years ago and it is breathtaking. so inexpensive and stunning beaches. we also visited naxos for a more local feel (must see plaka beach – was rated the most beautiful beach in the world!)

    couldn’t agree with montauk! i have wanted to visit since ‘eternal sunshine’ and ‘the affair’ solidified for me.

  • For wandering and swimming overseas I’d recommend the Croatian coast, but a less expensive city like Rijeka over Dubrovnik. Honestly, I’d drop Paris off of your ‘we should visit but not dying to list’…it’s oh so overrated.

  • Your choices are perfect! Santorini is an absolute dream of mine and who doesn’t want to experience the iconic beverly hills hotel?! XX


  • I’ve actually never heard of Montauk, New York before! I will need to do some research! Of course the other places on your list look fabulous as well!

    Brittany |

  • Morocco & Greece must be beautiful!! I didn’t how fun Montauk good look!! I might have to check out that surf lodge this summer! =)

  • Wow! Yes! Such amazing destinations and hotels. I have to budget carefully this year but I’m hoping to fit in at least one trip – possibly to Iceland because I’ve never been and I’m really curious about hot springs, Nothern lights and ice hotels.

    Are there any places you’ve been before that you want to go back to?

  • Thank you for sharing this, I love creative interior design in hotels as well. I once stayed in a wonderful hotel in New York, but that Fellah Hotel in Marrakech looks stunning!

  • You plan your trips around hotels you want to visit? That seems so sad to me ???

  • They sound and look wonderful. My very first Greek island was Santorini – 30 years ago! – I’m one of your older readers…. ; ) I fell in love with everything about that ancient place. Black sand, hike up to the volcano, my first taste of Greek yogurt and honey and my very first sunset at Oia, oh yes! Did I ever fall in love.

  • Perfect list ! I will just ad The Royal Hawaiian Hotel! Because it’s pink and with so many palm trees around !!!

  • Fueling your reflexion on hotels with a graphic soul, this one recently opened in my city : Each room was left open to the creation of an artist or studio, so each one is different. There were street’artists, graphic designers, photographers… Furniture is quite neat, simple wood, simple design, because that’s a budget hotel, which is pretty cool too.
    When I saw the room 207, I thought of you (INSANELY COOL LIGHT FIXTURE !!!).

  • Oh my gosh! These hotels look absolutely amazing! I’ve never really looked into themed hotels before as they tend to be a little out of budget for us, but now you’ve got us dreaming haha!
    Santorini is an amazing place! We visited there for a day on a cruise this past summer and WOW! Oia is definitely the more relaxed place to visit with all the blue domed churches and bougainvillia everywhere. Mykonos is great too – it’s only a few hours away on a boat ride, so if I were to go again I’d love to do a multi-stop on both islands!
    xo April | April Everyday

  • Dear Elsie,

    Such a nice destinations!! Morocco is fantastic!! I`ve been to Santorini last year, and ehh.. the places on photos are wonderful, such as Greece is, but as they have very bad economically situation now, it`s not a well chosen place to relax.., the Greek people are nice but the whole atmosphere is very very stressful. Spanish-Moroccan style mixed with Provance, in Southern France, Saintes-Maries-De-La-Mer I can recommend; great places to eat, a bohemian flair with many creative people around, fantastic nature with wild horses, buffalos and flamingos(called Camarque)special historical background, great live music and not expensive at all.. Flying to Marseilles. ;). I spent there two weeks last year, and plan to go back every year with my husband.

  • Hi 🙂

    I’ve been to Santorini (I’m from Europe), and I would love to go there again! It’s soo beautiful everywhere, and the atmosphere is very relaxed (like the rest of Greece). What I would recommend is to do an “island-hopping”, and visit some of the more northern islands as well, they are very different, much greener.

    I’m planning summer’s vacation as well, thanks for the inspiration 🙂


  • Elsie, if you’re so into super-awesome/themed hotels, I’ve seen photos online of a crazy beautiful hotel in Chile, called “Montaña Mágica Lodge”. It looks just like a Magic Mountain covered in vegetation. Although from what I’ve read it’s not really close to the place where you’ll be staying.
    I live in Buenos Aires, only a couple of hours by plane from Chile, so I have it in my own “Places to go” list.

  • Morocco is an absolute must, though if it is your first time I suggest using a tour company! Moroccan culture is quite Muslim and there are many cultural things you might not pick up on without a guide from the country. Though in terms of African/Muslim countries in general it is quite Western, and Marrakech is pretty touristy. For shopping in Morocco, Fes is an absolute MUST. The medina in Fes has 9,000 streets so it is confusing but amazing for finding everything under the sun! also be warned that Moroccans do not like their picture taken (especially in smaller cities and rural villages) so taking pictures for blogs on the streets can be tough. Morocco is an incredible country though, PLEASE allot lots of time to explore!

  • Amazing choices! I love the architectural design of the Fellah hotel, the vibrancy of Santorini, and comforting color scheme of the Surf Lodge.

    Happy Saturday

  • Santorini is a must for color, light, and an exquisite relaxing mood…been there 3 times and I can’t wait to share it’s beauty with my children someday. I can honestly say…you will cherish your eventual visit forever! There is a special other-worldly vibe there that I have not experienced anywhere else. Acapulco is unique in it’s own way and being so close to the U.S. is a plus. My hubby was born and raised there, so I’ve been visited there a few times. The area where the Boca Chica hotel is located is charming and that hotel looks lovely. Given a choice between those two places alone, I would definitely choose Santorini. The long journey is well worth it! I hope you get to at least one of the places on your list soon. 🙂

  • Wow these all look amazing! I actually just posted a list of places I want to travel to in 2016. There are so many great places, it’s difficult to narrow it down. You should check out.

  • I can’t speak to your first three, but having been fortunate enough to visit both Morocco and Santorini… I can’t recommend either one enough. My family continues to wistfully reminisce over both of our vacations to these countries – my mom has literally traveled all over the world and Morocco and the Greek Islands are two of her absolute favorites.

    If you’re aiming for rest and relaxation, Santorini is very, very, very hard to beat. A more serene, inspirational place does not exist. You can sit pool-side admiring the ocean all day long, and it will feel like the most productive day you’ve ever had. Not to mention, walking through the streets and getting lost amongst a sea of blue doors!!

    Morocco is definitely a sightseeing vacation, but everything that there is to see is worth it!! Marrakech was wonderful, but Chefchaouen and Fes also have a natural beauty that can’t be missed. Riads (similar to a bed and breakfast) are hidden treasures throughout Morocco, and I would hands-down recommend staying in one as opposed to a hotel – the Riad al Bartal in Fes continues to be the best place I’ve slept. You can also spend a night in a traditional nomad tent in the Sahara desert, which was a once in a lifetime experience for us.

    I hope you make it to one of these this year! I could talk for days about either!!

  • Gosh you have a good taste in accommodation! I’ll come to Morocco with you! *waves hand* Also can I squeeze in your suitcase when you head over to Santorini? I feel the same, someone I follow on Instagram is always in Santorini and I just need to get myself there and join them! I hope your travel wishes come true in 2016!

    Sally ~ DiagonSally

  • My fiance took me back to Paris to celebrate our engagement after he proposed and honestly it was the most chilled out day ever.

    Paris has the vibe where you really can go with whatever you want. It’s so relaxing to sit at pavement cafe sipping coffee, eating baguettes and watching the Parisian life go by.

    Highly recommended!

  • This is such a cool way to find where it is you would like to travel to! I never thought of looking for unique hotels but now I have found a new way to travel!
    Thank you so much for sharing these incredible places!

    Take care,
    C |

  • The Surf Lodge in NY looks right up my alley! Might have to give that a go this year. 😉 Thanks for sharing xx

    Taylr @ TaylrDaily

  • Hey Elsie!
    This is such a great list, although I have a bit of a recommendation for you! I’m half greek and have spent half my life in Greece, so I think you can trust my opinion. Santorini really is beautiful, but too touristy and pricey. Theres so many islands in Greece (more than 2000!) that are 100 times cheaper AND authentic so make sure you make your research before planning a trip over there. And it’s all very pretty 😉

  • I really want to SOON! It’s been on my list for a couple years. 🙂
    xx- Elsie

  • Elsie,

    It’s not a hotel, the Inn Boonsboro in Boonsboro, MD (owned by author Nora Roberts- so extra geek points if you read the books about the Inn) is gorgeous. Each room was designed to reflect a different couple in literature that have happy endings. The architecture is pretty similar, but the fixtures, linens, furniture (even bathrooms) are all different. They even each have their own signature scent, including soap/shampoo/etc. HIGHLY recommended.

    🙂 happy travels!

  • We’re staying in a house near Matanzas beach. 🙂 We’re aiming for a relaxing trip, so not planning to do any big excursions or travel much. Mostly just hang out with our friends/family, eat, swim and relax. We’re SO excited!
    xx- Elsie

  • very good designs and good ideas, I put the product in favorites to try to copy some ideas, thanks for sharing

  • Isn’t it called “Chefchaouen”? Been there last spring and it is indeed beautiful, feels like being on a different planet, everything is light blue, the floors, the buildings, the streets.

  • When you go to Marrakesh DO NOT STAY IN A HOTEL!
    Seriously, Marrakesh is famous for its beautiful “Riads”, they are Guesthouses build in a traditional style, it’s like you have a little garden right in the inside, an oasis really. And they have these beautiful roof terraces where you can have breakfast and just hang out.
    Another big plus is that they are right in the centre of the Medina (the old city).
    I’ve been there this year and we stayed at this beautiful riad (forgot the name) it wasnÄt that expensive (lol students) but it felt so luxurious and we were treated like movie stars, really.

    Anyway, Morocco is more than worth the trip, it’s insanely beautiful.

  • While you’re in CA, you’ll have to make the jaunt down to San Diego, and visit The Pearl…that place is so inspiring and cool!! They definitely imbibe it with personality, and it is such a mid-century paradise. It’s one of our favorite places to stay, but you gotta book early!

  • Tokyo itself might not be relaxing, but Nikko or Hakone just a few hours outside of the city are made for relaxation. The Japanese ryokan (a kind of b and b) is a sight to behold!

  • Santorini is stunningly beautiful and hands down my favorite place I have ever visited! The food is to die for, the beaches are amazing, and the locals are so sweet…I can’t say enough good things about it. If you go, definitely take a mini day trip to hike the volcanic island crater Nea Kameni (it’s an easy hike)- besides seeing the island and getting some killer views, you’ll get to jump off a boat and swim in some hot springs. It’s just the best.

    The hotel in Acapulco looks amazing too!

    xo Mil

  • My husband and I both lived in Greece when we met and got married there this past summer. We ended up honeymooning in Santorini. It’s incredibly gorgeous and other-worldly, but unfortunately is overrun by tourists much of the year. Best times to go are May-June and October time, when it’s not quite as packed or as hot. For a more authentic experience, you can stay in Oia- Perivolas Hotel is listed in 1000 Things to See Before You Die. For a more romantic, secluded escape, Imerovigli is the place to be (The Grace Santorini is supposed to be gorgeous and relaxing.) Keep in mind, prices are nuts! At least they were when we were looking.

    We stayed at Chroma Suites in Armeni Villas ( we have a friend of a friend, haha!) We did a wine tour-cooking class and a yacht tour, and that was it- the rest of the time was spent lounging, eating incredible seafood and enjoying the stunning views. It’s the perfect destination if you’re more of a laid-back traveler.

  • I agree with Joanna! Although it has not been easy lately, we still love it here!

  • Mention Santorini and divine relaxation and leisure quickly comes to mind, which is why in my case, this paradise is on top of my list of places i’d like to visit in 2016.

  • Just a heads up when (in case) you do go to Morocco… you can’t just go rug shopping and not buy anything. Big serious! My family went a few years back and we didn’t realize the culture dictates you shop for rugs – you buy a rug. Especially for western tourist. It took my parents hours of ‘negotiating’ just for my family (with kids) to be able to walk out of a rug place. Hours. I kid not.

  • Was so surprised to see Montauk at the top of the list. Come check out Montauk!

  • You won’t find a better ‘light’ than the one in Greece (in every sense of the word)!
    You would love it here!
    Best wishes for 2016.

  • I would love to go to Greece one day, but it might be a few years before that happens..
    I’m really hoping to go to New York this year though!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  • Also want to stay at the Surf Lodge! I didn’t appreciate Montauk enough when I was living on Long Island- what a beautiful spot.

  • Marrakesh is such an interesting and beautiful city. If you get to Morocco make sure you go to Chechuan all the buildings are a lilac colour, its magical. xx

  • This is a great list! Marrakech looks amazing!

    Santorini is one of those places you can just sit on your balcony and stare out at the sea all day, er’ day of your vacation and it is not time wasted. It’s super goregous with all the white-wash and bougainvillea, and relaxing. However, if you want to up the color-factor and still keep that by-the-sea feel, I would definitely suggest the island of Capri! The vegetation is much more lush than what you get on the Greek islands, with all sorts of beautiful flowers, buildings, and teeny pink fiats!

  • So funny! I’ve been in Boca Chica, OMG, it was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!
    If you have questions, let me know 🙂

  • I will go to Morocco with you! Haha. I’ve been wanting to go for a while and that hotel looks amazing! Though I have to say, number 2 and 3 are my thing, I wanna go there too.


  • Omg Elsie!! Where in Chile are you going ?? It is an incredible country. Pucon, a town in the south of Chile, is my favorite place in the world. You will love it. I can’t wait to see your pictures and learn about your trip. If you need any travel info I’d be happy to help! Xoxo

  • Haven’t been any of these but if you want to eat and swim and wander I recommend Savannah, Georgia! And stay at the Azalea Inn! Super cute tiny pool out back that no one seemed to use so we had it to ourselves, the Innkeepers make breakfast every morning and you sit with all the other guests and it was actually really fun (said the horrified Introvert) AND there’s a new kind of home-made COOKIE waiting in the lounge when you come back at night! I can’t say enough about this place. Except also there’s an Inn pup: a tea-cup terrier named Joey.

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