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10 over-the-top ideas for Mother's Day

PHOTO: My fabulous mother and I at Celeste in The Lanesborough, London (c) Sery Kim


For those thinking outside the typical list of great gifts to give your wonderful mothers for Mother’s Day, there’s nothing quite as special as a trip. From spas to cruises, West Coast to the Far East, here are the ten fabulous, over-the-top getaway gifts to give to the woman closest to your heart.

PHOTO: Spanish Steps in Rome (c) Sery Kim

Croatia with Windstar Cruises

Hot on the list of everyone’s best places to go in 2017 is the setting made prominent by the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Croatia. This small country on the Adriatic Sea where GOT is filmed is also known for its eclectic yet delicious cuisine, as well as the beautiful culture in the coastal town of Dubrovnik, Split and its capital city of Zagreb. Enjoy the best of the entire Dalmatian Coast onboard a Windstar Cruise. This award-winning, intimate, luxury cruise line takes their approximately 300 room Starbreeze through three cities in Italy, Montenegro as well as the aforementioned cities (and Split) in Croatia, with an impeccable staff and fantastic food. Mom will also be able to indulge in an excellent wine program as well as spa treatments after a long day of being a tourist. Also, if you need assistance in figuring out where to go and what to do in Croatia, the Windstar team can take care of that too.

PHOTO: Dinner at Law Restaurant, Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas (c) Sery

The Ultimate Spa Staycation at the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas

Nothing quite speaks of “Ladies who Lunch” in the Lone Star State than a visit to the luxurious Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas. After a $9 million dollar renovation to their fitness and spa facilities, Mom will love everything the property has to offer. Stay the entire weekend so the Four Seasons Dallas can pamper your Mom from morning until night. Start the day right in the morning with a healthy breakfast – be sure to try the Avocado Toast and a delightfully, extra creamy latte. Then indulge in a session of AntiGravity Aerial Yoga, which will make Mom feel as young and athletic as PINK (the singer) while at the same time stimulating the loss of those pounds from breakfast. She can continue the spa staycation with a blissful massage. Ssk for Sandra, the best masseuse in Texas, and her “signature massage,” a blend of a light Swedish massage with hot towel compress. If Mom is still stressed out, she can enjoy an acupuncture session or a blow-out on the property. Then take Mom for drinks at the Agave Pool & Bar by the super, over-sized lazy river the Four Seasons calls a “pool” – it really is a pool, it’s just massive.

PHOTO: Campfire lunch at Fairmont Le Château Montebello (c) Sery Kim

Après in the Air – Canada

If you believe in the mentality of “go big or go home,” this spectacular $300,000 package from Air Canada and Fairmont Hotels & Hotels (a Canadian founded hotel chain) will literally set the bar higher than you would have ever dreamed for Mother’s Day. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Après in the Air package is a private charter flight hosted by Air Canada’s all Business Class private charter service, Jetz, with stays at the iconic Fairmont Château Laurier, Fairmont Le Château Montebello and Fairmont Tremblant. Jetz turns the private plane into a cozy Fairmont-inspired ski chalet, creating the ultimate “après ski” experience at 30,000 feet, and then each Fairmont destination offers a bevy of memory-making activities. Mom should also make it a point to spa at Fairmont Tremblant, which is multi-story.

PHOTO: Suite at St. Regis Florence

The Lap of Florentine Luxury curated by the St. Regis Florence

Timeless Florence has always been a huge draw for those who dream of Italy. The seemingly endless skyline of terracotta roofs mix in with historic buildings like the Duomo, and of course the magical sunrise and sunset infuse the entire scene with flickering light. Stay at the St. Regis Florence located right on the banks of The Arno River, literally two bridges from the Ponte Vecchio, so your Mom can fall asleep to the sound of the river breaking over the ridges in the most relaxing, natural ambient noise-machine.

PHOTO: Morning coffee at St. Regis Florence (c) Sery Kim

The St. Regis Florence is a converted palace designed by Brunelleschi, aka the founder father of modern architecture, aka the first modern engineer, aka the man who designed the dome of the Florence Cathedral (yes, THE Duomo). In addition to having a world-class hotel, the St. Regis Florence also has a world class spa, a beautiful breakfast and a 35 euro personal car ride to The Mall, the premier luxury mall in the world where you can buy a $2700 Prada bag for $675. Also, conveniently, the St. Regis Florence is located across the bridge from the best (not just my opinion) gelato shop in all of Firenze, Gelateria La Carraia, as well as a 15 minute walk from all the best museums in the world like Uffizi and Academia. Be sure not to make the amateur mistake I made in showing up to the museum on Mondays. All national museums are closed on that day.

PHOTO: Five scoops of Gelateria La Carraia (c) Sery Kim

Wine weekend in Signature Sonoma Valley

Rare is the mother who doesn’t enjoy incomparable wines in one of the best wine producing regions in the world, Sonoma Valley. While nearly impossible to cull through and visit the literally hundreds of wineries located in Sonoma, this year try a unique glimpse into “Signature Sonoma” with visits to Buena Vista Winery, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Kamen Estate Wines, Landmark Vineyards and Ram’s Gate Winery. Then relax at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, particularly the Willow Stream Spa, before heading out to enjoy some of the amazing restaurants in Sonoma. Favorites include El Dorado Kitchen, a bistro kitchen serving American fare and delicious cocktails, and Hana Japanese Restaurant serving brilliant sushi. If pinot and cabernet are more your mom’s style you can dip over to one of the delicious Jackson Family Wineries like La Crema where you should venture to indulge in their new Pinot Noir Rose.

PHOTO: Rose birthday gifts from Jackson Family wineries (c) Sery Kim

Shopping and Sushi in Tokyo

With over 100,000 restaurants and the most Michelin stars outside of France, Tokyo is synonymous with delicious food. Kaiseki, izakaya taverns, Ramen Street inside the Tokyo Station, and of course the huge fish market Tsujiki. Stay at the Four Seasons Tokyo Marunouchi which is literally right next to the main Tokyo Station.

PHOTO: My welcome mochi at Four Seasons Tokyo (c) Sery Kim

Conveniently, they offer a singular concierge service where they will pick you up from the airport and then personally escorting you to the hotel through the extensive subway system – traffic is really as bad as they say. Also have the Four Seasons book you the “Sumo and Sightseeing in Tokyo” experience as an introduction to Tokyo before wandering through Harajuku District for amazing shopping.

PHOTO: Morning tea at Four Seasons Tokyo (c) Sery Kim

If your Mom is really into art, the Yayoi Kusama life exhibit (of the Infinity Mirrors series) is at the National Art Center in Tokyo. Then stop by the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo for afternoon tea as well as a decadent spa experience, but if you want a truly authentic Japanese spa experience you must attend to either an onsen or sento, a Japanese bath house.

PHOTO: Friends and me at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (c) Sery Kim

Exotic getaway to Abu Dhabi

Imagine a week away with Mom in some variation of Sex and the City 2 except without some of Samantha’s crazy shenanigans. Right now Abu Dhabi is on the cutting edge of luxury travel. Alluring attractions including the stunning $30 billion island being built for the Guggenheim and Louvre for two satellite destinations. In particular, the Guggenheim’s asethic is a real treat and the interior contemporary art is sensational. Additionally, the brand new flagship Marriott property, the Marriott al Forsan is a sprawling 400 room property with an Olympic sized pool, relaxing hamman spa, and delicious cocktails.

PHOTO: The pool at Marriott al-Forsan (c) Sery Kim

Mexican luxury at Fairmont Mayakoba

Located a 40 minute car ride from Cancun, Mayakoba is a luxury resort development right on the banks of the Caribbean sea with the intent to make every guest feel as though they have escaped to paradise. A six mile long lagoon weaves from the four luxury hotel properties (Rosewood, Banyan Tree, Andaz and Fairmont), but guests should lean towards the warmth and genuinely kind behavior of the team at Fairmont Mayakoba.

PHOTO: Fairmont Mayakoba (c) Sery Kim

In addition to tremendous service, the Fairmont Mayakoba also has an amazing spa menu. Do not let your mother leave without trying the “Mayan bath” with Samuel. A full body scrub, followed by a hot bath while he massages your head and shoulders and then a 60-minute massage. The entire experience, which should be followed by some Tequila and Margaritas, will relax even the most stressed out, sleep-deprieved mother. Oh. You can take the Mayakoba water taxi over to the Andaz for the best meal you will have in Mayakoba, which is curated by Antonio de Livier. His fish in a sea of black beans with a side of rice, though sounding simple, is absolutely incredible.

PHOTO: Sorbet dessert by Andaz's Antonio de Livier (c) Sery Kim

PHOTO: Grasshopper and refried beans tostada (c) Sery Kim

Under the Tuscan Sun with Il Castelfalfi

Winding through the roads of Tuscany, Italy is truly a journey back in time where the narrow streets and former castles speak to the glories of Italy. Today, Tuscany remains a permanent fixture for its stunning red wines like Chianti and the incomparable Brunello di Montalcino, as well as it the verdant greenery of the entire region, but it is really the converted castles throughout Tuscany which weave past with present.

PHOTO: The view of the town below Castelfalfi (c) Sery Kim

PHOTO: Th magnificent golf course at Il Castelfalfi (c) Sery Kim

Properties like Il Castelfalfi carefully restored a 800-year-old castle and the entire acreage of the city of Castelfalfi by turning it into a relaxing resort in the middle of Tuscany with its own wine, great pizzeria, lovely spa and one of the most beautiful golf courses in Tuscany – if you are feeling generous you can also buy one of the houses on the property which sells for a breezy $6 million to start. Other great destinations in Tuscany include another converted castle property, Castello di Casole which has Martha Stewart Weddings cover-worthy weddings, and the impeccable Il Borro owned by the Salvatore Ferragamo family.

PHOTO: Foie gras with proscuitto at L'Oiseu Blanc (c) Sery Kim

Paris, always and forever, with love

Is there a better city in the world to visit than Paris to celebrate love? The entire city resonates with cultural touchstones reflecting something beautiful: the Louvre, Notre Dame, the passion of the Jardin, Musee d’Orsay, smaller museums like the Jacquemart-Andre and of course the Eiffel Tower. Bringing Mom to Paris for Mother’s Day can be an amalgam of these beautiful things -- and with the near half-billion-dollar renovation of the Ritz Paris you can stay where Coco Chanel used to live (the Ritz has preserved her room). Then walk around the streets of Paris, particularly in the Marais, for excellent shopping before settling into L’Oiseu Blanc for sparkling views of the Eiffel Tower and delicious food. In addition to having one of the best views in Paris, this rooftop restaurant of the Peninsula Hotel also has a Michelin-star

PHOTO: Duke and Duchess of Windsor suite at Ritz Paris (c) Sery Kim

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