For Teni Panosian, relaxing can be a hard thing to do. The actress and beauty and style blogger behind Miss Maven is about to pack her bags for New York City, London and Morocco. To make sure she’s well rested for those trips, Marriott Rewards sent the Los Angeles native and some friends to The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, just minutes from Palm Springs.
“Relaxation doesn’t mean that you’re bored,” she says. “There’s plenty to do, whether you want to relax or maybe be a little more active. Maybe you want to go for a hike or a run or just unwind and spend some time at the spa.”
We couldn’t agree more. Marriott Traveler caught up with Panosian shortly after her trip to the California desert to chat about her past and future travels and what tips she might give to anyone about to pack a bag for a trip of their own.
Travel can turn anyone into a storyteller, and with its You Are Here campaign, Marriott Traveler and Marriott Rewards are exploring how being a member has enabled individuals like Teni to enrich their lives with memorable experiences and live in the moment.
What’s a place you’ve been recently that really impressed you?
Well, recently, as you know, I did go to The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Usually when I go out to the desert, I’m just in Palm Springs where the strip is — where all the action is, but this was an opportunity to really take some time to relax with good friends, and that’s exactly what I got there. It’s such a serene, tranquil place. There’s nothing around but peace, nature and other people trying to relax. It’s a full-luxury resort, and we had the opportunity to just unwind and take some time off.
That’s so great you were able to do that with friends. Do you always like to travel with company
I went with two of my college roommates — well, there were seven of us in the house (laughs), but these were the two that were able to take off work. I typically travel alone because I travel for work a lot, but my preference is to travel with people, specifically the people in my life that I already have great memories with. Now that life is so much more busy and hectic, it’s nice to go back to a place where you can just be the same college students, having a good time together.
What makes the best trip ever?
I think my ideal trip would be to go to a place where I could do everything that that place offers, especially in terms of nature. For example, when I went out to Rancho Mirage, we did this 5 a.m. hike. I mean, where else could you possibly go up to the top of a mountain and see this beautiful sunrise? Being able to go to a place and take advantage of its natural wonders, whether that means diving underwater with marine life or flying in a hot air balloon, it’s just about taking advantage of what each place has to offer.
Are you more of a planner or a “Let’s wing it!” type of person?
I’m typically a planner, but when it comes to vacationing, I really won’t plan. If I’m going for work, it’s “How many people can I meet with? What kind of dinners can we have?” — you know, meet with this person or that person, but if I’m just vacationing, I like to do nothing but relax and unwind.
When traveling, how do you discover new things?
For me, I like to ask the concierge because they’re usually really nice people who have the best recommendations, but I also like to turn to social media. I’ll ask my audiences, “Has anyone been here? Where should I go?” and they always have really good recommendations, especially for restaurants.
What’s something you have to bring with you when you go on a trip?
I always pack a bathing suit, no matter where I’m going, whether it’s a tropical beach or not. You never know if you might just want to go to the spa for a few hours and sit in the sauna or go into the hot tub at night. Even if it’s kind of chilly, it’s nice to be in a Jacuzzi. And if you’re going to be near the beach then it’s definitely a must, so no matter where I’m going, I always have a bathing suit in one form or another.
Also, load up on your vitamins, because the last thing you want is to get sick or not be feeling your best when you’re trying to enjoy a place you may or may not go back to. So I like to have some sort of reinforcement of vitamins with me that I’ll take on the plane and then at least one more time during the trip to make sure I’m feeling my best and most energetic so that I can enjoy myself.
Is there a place you’d recommend everyone go at least once?
There’s a place in Italy called Positano, and actually, I got to experience it with the same college roommates I went to The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage with. I went there 10 years ago, in college, and just had the opportunity to go back there again in May, which was 10 years to the day that I was first there. It’s just one of those magical places in the world that does something to you. It’s this picturesque little cliffside town that you usually only see in postcards. Just to be there is an unparalleled experience.
What does it mean to you to be a Marriott Rewards member? What does being a member do for you?
To me, being a Marriott Rewards member just means having that extra assurance that when you’re traveling you’re going to be taken care of. Whether that means having an extra perk here and there or having the guidance of a full-service staff to tell you where you can go to enjoy yourself most, I think it’s just that extra assurance that you’re having a good time and that you’re taken care of.
How important is travel to you, and how has it impacted your life?
Travel is extremely important to me because, you know, I grew up in the same town that I’m living in now, and I like that routine, that tradition; but to be able to go out and travel and see different places and meet different people that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet … I think that’s the coolest part. For me, the most amazing thing about traveling is exposing yourself to the different kinds of people, cultures and traditions around the world.
So, what are you working on now? Anything exciting coming up?
I sure do! I’m traveling more! I’m heading to Morocco, New York and London, and when I get back, I’m going to be working on remodeling my new house. So that’s a lot until the end of the year (laughs).
Wow! You’re going all over. So, where is home base? Any recommendations there?
I live in Glendale, California. It’s a little suburb of Los Angeles, and that’s my little tucked-away haven. You’ll usually find me there if I’m not out traveling. One of my favorite restaurants in L.A., which is such an L.A. thing because very few places have this sort of vibe, is Café Gratitude. They have this version of a vegan B.L.T., but their bacon is a chipotle marinated coconut, which I know sounds interesting, but it tastes so, so, good. They also make a key lime pie out of avocado and Irish moss. You might be like, “Ew,” but it’s so tasty!