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Over the course of 10 trips around the world, I’ve probably taken a few hundred thousand photographs. And while I think they’re pretty awesome and I’m especially proud of the Pinterest page I’ve compiled, I never imagined I would be the subject of a travel photography exhibition. But that’s exactly what happened last week in Amsterdam!
Before I go on, a little background…
On our honeymoon this past summer, Dave and I had a one-night layover in Amsterdam and chose to stay at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport to ease our quick turnaround to and from the airport. And as we walked off the 14-hour flight from Bogota, Colombia bleary-eyed and in desperate need of a shower before heading into town, we knew we’d made the perfect choice.
Within minutes of passing through customs, we were walking into the Sheraton’s soothing lobby without ever setting foot into the mid-day heat outside. After freshening up a bit, we headed back into the airport to catch the 15-minute train to Amsterdam’s central station. It couldn’t have been easier and really allowed us to maximize our short stay in Amsterdam.
Many of you know that over the past few years I have done frequent collaborations with my beloved Starwood Hotels (now owned by Marriott). During our brief stay in Amsterdam, I was presented with the idea for an exhibition featuring some of my travel photography in the hotel’s main gathering space, The Gate.
Located in the hotel’s atrium, The Gate is a great spot to relax between flights, connect with colleagues or just enjoy one of the Sheraton Select wines or a cold craft beer, as we did during our stay.
Better When “Paired”
The Gate already features a giant screen displaying a variety of travel destinations but they wanted to go a step further by adding a travel photography exhibition to the space.
The idea was to showcase fascinating destinations around the globe as the inspiration for innovative food and drink pairings for Sheraton’s new “Paired” program. Inspired by global cuisine and cultures, Paired combines creative small plates with premium wines and hand-picked craft beers to create unexpected taste sensations and a unique dining experience.
But while I do consider myself a professional traveler, I’m definitely an amateur photographer so I was honored (and a little surprised!) to be asked to be the subject of the exhibition. And I was especially excited to see how they would create Paired combinations inspired by some of the destinations I’ve visited.
Over the next few months, the team at the Sheraton selected 10 images (including at least one from each continent) from the thousands I’ve shot during my round-the-world trips.
Some of the images were among those that I consider my best work – Flamingo Beach in Aruba, sunset on Easter Island, the Iceberg Graveyard in Antarctica (a personal favorite) and the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan.
And others that I might never have considered exhibiting, like a camel candid from Jordan and a marsupial warning sign from Tasmania. But together, the 10 images presented a well-rounded view of the world and captured the beauty, and often humor, of travel.
Next, the Sheraton’s culinary team got to work to develop the creative food and drink pairings to accompany each destination. These would be served during the exhibition’s opening party and added to the menu in The Gate.
For Antarctica, it was a James Cook-inspired fish and chips paired with a glass of white wine. Colorado? A western-style burger with a frosty craft beer.
For Bhutan, a Massaman Curry and for Jordan, a Middle-Eastern couscous salad.
The Grand Opening
After months of preparation; last week, it was finally time for my husband and I to fly over to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. The opening night guest list included a number of Amsterdam-based SPG members and a variety of the Sheraton’s business partners.
Meeting the well-traveled group of SPG members was an absolute delight. We spent the evening talking travel over champagne and the delicious food pairings created for the event (my favorite was the Massaman curry, though the fish and chips was a close second!). A few of the guests had even done round-the-world trips of their own.
It was a fabulous evening and such a thrill to see my photographs blown up on canvas and hanging in the hotel’s atrium. For a few hours, I really did feel like a pro!
The exhibit will run for the next two months, ending in late December. So, if you find yourself in Amsterdam (or even just connecting through Schipol airport), stop by The Gate at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport and take a look for a little globetrotting inspiration and a terrific meal.
Big thanks to everyone at the Sheraton for their incredible work putting together the exhibition and to everyone who came out to celebrate the opening. I hope the images will inspire those who attended and future guests to visit destinations they might never even have considered. And while they ponder their next adventure, it never hurts to enjoy a great meal!