HGTV designer Monica Pedersen can be seen regularly on programs such as “Bang for Your Buck,” where she shows homeowners how to maximize their living space and beautify their homes. A well-seasoned traveler, Pedersen — who resides in the Midwest — sees the potential in taking trips to Wisconsin, as well as heading overseas for a longer family vacation.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Hobe Sound, Fla. It’s a low-key town right next to Jupiter Island and about 45 minutes from Palm Beach. It is my go-to spot when I really want to relax. Working on TV for me means being constantly surrounded by the noise of saws and drills. So a vacation with good weather, the comfort of a private home, a charged golf cart in the driveway and no pressure to look presentable is heaven!
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Kohler, Wis., is definitely at the top of my list and is a place my husband and I go at least twice a year. It’s a place that celebrates a few things I am most passionate about — interior design, golf and delicious food. The American Club (www.destinationkohler.com) is charming, the golf is spectacular and the food is mouth watering. Another fun place to go in Wisconsin is the Osthoff Lake Resort (www.osthoff.com). Definitely request one of the newly renovated rooms. I am not a big spa-goer but their completely holistic Aspira Spa is unpretentious and relaxing.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. The Pelham Hotel (www.pelhamhotel.co.uk) in London has beautifully decorated rooms. The Ritz-Carlton (www.ritzcarlton.com/neworleans) in New Orleans is comfortable and in a great location. The Four Seasons Dublin (www.fourseasons.com/dublin) in Ireland treated my mom, who was very sick while we were there, like a queen. The Soho Grand Hotel (www.sohogrand.com) in New York for its location. The bar can be pretty fun as well.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Il Cantinori (www.ilcantinori.com) is my favorite restaurant in New York. I love great Italian food! In Las Vegas, definitely the Wynn Hotel and the Bartolotta Ristorante (http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/#dining/bartolotta/), which is incredible!
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Comfortable shoes, a variety of outerwear — like scarves, sweaters and my plaid Burberry rain poncho — BlackBerry, cheap pair of back-up sunglasses, a good book and a small container of moisturizer.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. San Francisco is so romantic. It’s where my husband proposed to me. New York for its great energy. Napa Valley is sophisticated, yet friendly and has great food and wine. I love the details in New Orleans’ architecture. Charleston, S.C., is elegant and loaded with Southern charm.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I talk to friends and do a ton of research online. Hotels, local sites, weather, shopping, etc. A Website I am working with, www.mastercardmarketplace.com, is a great resource to find savings and deals for vacations and weekend getaways.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am heading there soon to shoot an episode of a show I work on called “Bang for Your Buck” and I cannot wait. I am also going to track down the balcony where Eva Peron sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and do my own version. I’m kidding!
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Tags: "Bang for Your Buck", "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", Argentina, Aspira Spa, Bartolotta Ristorante, BlackBerry, Burberry, designer, Dublin, Eva Peron, Florida, Four Seasons Dublin, HGTV, Hobe Sound, Il Cantinori, Ireland, Jupiter Island, Kohler, Las Vegas, Monica Pedersen, Napa Valley, New York, Osthoff Lake Resort, Palm Beach, Pelham Hotel, Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, Soho Grand Hotel, The American Club, Wisconsin, Wynn Hotel