The Bureau chases the Artist, Slim Aarons, and the Jet Set Life. Learns Life Lessons.

In celebration of establishing my own company, The Bureau: Office of Travel and adding the lifelong interest of travel back into my career arsenal, I thought it would be fun to pass along an exceptional travel experience The Bureau offers. The "live the life of your favorite artist" travel itinerary is a unique style of vacation; we curate distinctly for our clients. So if you have a favorite artist or are in need of some sunshine on this gloomy day, give this a read and see how we can create innovative travel itineraries for the art and design loving traveler. We happened to "live the life of a favorite artist" itinerary back in March. This this is what we discovered...

Bathers at La Concha Beach Club, Acapulco, Mexico, February 1975. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In March, the Bureau sailed south to Acapulco, Mexico with a mission to relive some of the travels of photographer Slim Aarons, the Holiday magazine photographer who captured the jet-setting lives of aristocrats, celebrities and the wealthy from the 1950s-1970s. His book, A Wonderful Time, is a quintessential piece in many designers’ homes.

The swimming pool at the La Concha Beach Club, Acapulco, Mexico, February 1972. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As devoted fans of Aarons' photography, the Bureau stayed at the legendary Las Brisas resort—the scene of many famous shots by Aarons.

What’s left of Aarons’ haunts after 30 plus years?

Originally opened in 1956, the Las Brisas Acapulco is a living window into the city's past. Nestled on a hillside far above the city, Las Brisas’ claim to fame is privacy. Secluded casitas—most with their own private swimming pools—continue to make Las Brisas one of the Americas’ most romantic hotels.

Apartments and pools at the La Concha Beach Club in Las Brisas resort in Acapulco, Mexico, January 1968. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But romance, I quickly realized, was only one aspect of Las Brisas’ appeal in Aarons’ era. Las Brisas is a quiet getaway from what was once an electric, cosmopolitan city with a nightlife which never ceased. One could quietly recharge here in the days immediately following Castro's rise to power and Acapulco’s ascension as the new party center of the western hemisphere.

American actor Richard Widmark (1914 - 2008, right) at a yacht marina in Acapulco, Mexico, January 1961. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sunbathers at Armando's Beach Club, Acapulco, Mexico, February 1975. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Friends greet each other at Armando's Beach Club, Acapulco, Mexico, February 1975. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Today, the celebrities and the flashy set photographed by Aarons have moved on—and Acapulco’s Golden Zone feels tarnished. Yet Las Brisas shines and is as beautiful as ever. White Jeeps still carry guests discreetly up the hill from the Las Brisas lobby, which itself feels like a throwback to another time: all large windows and covered drop offs.

A villa in Las Brisas, Acapulco, February 1972. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Getty Images

The service at Las Brisas is still five star, even if the casitas are somewhat simple by today's standards. There is an excellent restaurant called BellaVista with views of Acapulco Bay which are nothing short of amazing. And La Concha, a private beach club located down a winding road to the bay is another unique luxury. It is elegant, just as it was when Aarons photographed it decades ago.

In the exclusive residential area near Las Brisas you can rent Villa Nirvana and as glorious as it is, feels dated in a 1970's chic-kind-of-way the author or a Kelly Wearstler lover would appreciate. Be sure to take a peek.

Oscar Obregon Salazar Gomez Velez Guzman y Murphy (centre, left) with Karen Murphy, Robin Goodland and Melissa Engelhardt at the Villa Nirvana hotel, Acapulco, Mexico, 1986. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Guests at the Villa Nirvana, owned by Oscar Obregon, in Las Brisas, Acapulco, Mexico, February 1972. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But not all is well. Armando's is now a parking deck, sadly, and the Villa Vera was closed to the public while we were visiting (it was recently to reopen as a resort catering primarily to Mexican nationals, but open to all).

Sunbathers at Armando's Beach Club, Acapulco, Mexico, February 1975. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As much as I longed to take photos like Slim Aarons of the Rothschilds or Kennedys covered in Bain de Soleil, smoking cigarettes body-to-body with the editor-in-chief of some highly esteemed fashion publication, the reality is most of my photos consisted of beautiful places without the faces. The lovely faces were gone and had not replaced with others —it was the middle of March, and the resorts were empty (I mean bare). The party packed up long ago and headed to St. Barts and the Amalfi Coast. And some probably got too coked out and ended up on the wrong side of a disco-loving 8-track.

The Villa Vera Hotel Spa and Racquet Club in Acapulco, January 1968. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Getty Images)

Vogue magazine editor Topsy Taylor, a visitor to Acapulco, circa 1966. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So, what happened to one of Slim's favorite destinations? Stay tuned to hear the rest of our "living the life of artist" Slim Aarons-style…

#travel #design #photography #travelagent #travelcuration #artandtravel

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