Where to Stay: The Claska Hotel, Tokyo

Part hotel, part restaurant, part event space and part super cool design shop, this hip and quirky boutique hotel is a hidden gem in Tokyo’s off-the-beaten path Meguro neighborhood.

The hotel was remodeled from an old business hotel in 2003 as a collaboration between the English Design firm Tomato and up-and-coming Japanese designers. The minimalist aesthetic of the space is thoughtful and well designed, but still retains the energy and slightly worn feel from a past time.

Not all rooms are created equal at the Claska, and the hotel is often booked up months in advance. Each room has a different design, so guests often do their research and reserve a specific room.

The Claska’s restaurant Kiokuh is situated right in the lobby, ideal for people watching in the lobby over a pot of tea or cocktail. The restaurant’s French-based menu serves breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the day. There are two options for breakfast - either a Japanese and American menu. Meals are simple but delicious. Try the Japanese breakfast if you are feeling adventurous!

Claska’s fantastic shop “DO” sells a well curated mix of Japanese clothing and housewares. Certainly not your traditional souvenir shop, this is a destination in itself where ceramics, artisan fabrics, and trendy clothes abound.

Take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary bikes to explore the many interior design shops and restaurants sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. Meguro is slightly off the beaten path, but much more low key than many parts of busy Tokyo. Its a charming neighborhood and I really enjoyed exploring this quieter side to the city. 

-- IF YOU GO -- 

Pack... comfy walking shoes, pocket wifi and a Tokyo guidebook

Plan ahead... each room at the Claska is different. do you research and book in advance if you have a preference on your room's style (my vote is for the "Modern" rooms: Japanese and Scandinavian style, with clean lines and plenty of space!)

Read more… One-stop shop for design lovers

Where to Stay: Nick's Cove, Tomales Bay

One of my favorite escapes from San Francisco is heading north to Point Reyes and Tomales Bay. It's a beautiful spot that feels far away from everything but in reality is only about an hour and a half drive from the city. I've shared some favorite spots in the area before in my Tomales Bay Guide. You can do it as a day trip, but it’s worthwhile to invest the time to stay a few nights. It’s a beautiful slice of part of the world it is. 

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Any time we drive up to the Tomales area, we plan our drive to stop at the Marshall General Store for lunch. The oysters are fresh and the sandwiches are filling and delicious.

After lunch, keep driving to reach Nick's Cove, a charming and unassuming inn off the side of Highway 1.  Twelve cottages line the coast and the hillside across the road to make up this spot. Low key but completely luxurious, with wood burning stoves, claw-footed tubs and heated tile floors in the bathroom in most of the cabins. I've stayed here twice, once in a waterfront and and once in a waterview cottage. If you can justify the splurge, the waterfront bungalows are perfection. Waking up to the water is one of life's great pleasures, and it's equally as pleasing to watch the sun set over Tomales Bay from your own private over-water porch. 

Be sure to indulge in your complimentary oysters upon check-in, and enjoy the casual atmosphere at the roadside restaurant for a hearty dinner after working up your appetite on a hike in Pt Reyes National Seashore earlier in the day.

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If You Go

Pack… No matter the season, it gets chilly in the evenings and mornings on the water. You'll want an extra layer for hiking, cozy sweats for lounging by the fire.

Good For… Romantic getaway

Plan Ahead… To maximize your relaxation, you’ll want to book a waterfront room. Al’s is my favorite! If you are just going to eat at the restaurant (which I recommend so you don’t have to drive) you can make dinner reservations when you arrive.

Value… There’s a fairly big range in price depending on which cottage you book, and when you go (also note there’s a 2 night minimum on the weekends). The rooms are cozy, comfortable and outfitted with details like heated floors in the bathroom and in some rooms soaking bathtubs and fireplaces. The value for the price is worth it if you are looking for an off the grid place to recharge.