For the next few weeks I am going to post images of some of the destinations I have been privileged to experience. We are all dreaming of getting back on the road.
Hard not to love the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Pink Palace never fails to please. Part of Dorchester Collection, the iconic hotel is better than ever. Undergoing selective renovation- of which I never saw or heard evidence, the hotel has kept the 1912 original decor but added all the 2019 conveniences. Staff is happy and welcome is warm. Beautifully led by GM Edward Mady, the hotel spins like a top. Can’t wait to return!
Hotel Selman, located about 20 minutes outside of city center is palace on 15 acres also home to an impressive collection of Arabian thoroughbreds. A place where the horses are as glossy as the 75 metre swimming pool. The stunning interiors were designed by iconic designer Jacques Garcia. The hotel’s aesthetic is best described as French Second Empire luxury meets Arabian tradition: lustrous chandeliers, purple and gold upholstery meld with ebony-stained tadelakt plasterwork and miniature monochrome zellige tiling.
My personal hotel favorites are Royal Mansour, La Mamounia, Mandarin Oriental, Selman, and Villa des Orangers.
Fes, the cultural heart of Morocco, has a special selection of small hotels.
Riad Fes is the largest luxury boutique hotel in Fez and is a member of Relais & Chateaux. The hotel comprises 3 old palaces that date back to the 18th century. It’s been opened as a hotel since 2001. It has 26 Rooms and it’s restaurant is considered one of the best in Fes.
A relatively new addition is Hotel Sahrai. Decor is more contemporary, the hotel has two restaurants- one French and one Moroccan. The hotel also boosts a rooftop bar with spectacular sunset views.
One of the most exotic and secure places to visit in the world is Morocco. The welcome and warmth of people in general is warm and from the heart. Hotels here are a dream.
Craftsmanship in leather goods, jewelry, fashion, textiles, furnishings, decorative accessories, lighting, and just about anything you can imagine buying, is excellent. A food lovers dream, the country is a choice place to sample French, and Moroccan influences.
Classical Grande Dame in San Sebastián.
Opened in 1912, the restored Hotel Maria Cristina has been closely linked to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian. We experienced gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel.
Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury, style, technology and a dazzling range of services which combined, make for an unforgettable stay.
With awe inspiring panorama views, Legendary Hotel Eden is like a shiny new penny after a 17 month renovation. Rooms are bright and elegant. The hotel retained those gorgeous white marble spacious bathrooms. Makes anyone feel like a movie star!
A Dorchester Collection hotel, the staff Is masterfully run by GM Luca Virgilio.
Staff Is enthusiastic and sincerely welcoming. Rooms are bright and large location at the top of the hill near Via Veneto, makes for easy walking. And those BEDS! Unforgettable!!
Still has the michelin starred restaurant, La Terrazzo and Eden bar with incredible views overlooking the entire Historic center of Rome
Dispatch from Rome: lovely experience with the Hassler Hotel. Established in 1939 by Oscar Wirth, guests feel the family atmosphere and service immediately when entering the lobby. There is a sense of pride and sincere welcome from the doorman to the desk. I had the privilege of meeting the present President and Managing Director, Roberto Wirth and his son, Roberto who is the heir apparent. Many staff have been there for as long as 30 years. Service is impeccable refreshed decor is bright, contemporary and luxurious. The location, at the top of the Spanish Steps is perfect. The Hassler added a small group of rooms hidden beside the Spanish Steps – Il Palazzetto – in 1999. Roberto acquired Il Palazzetto with the intention of expanding the brand name of the historical hotel located two steps away at Piazza Trinita dei Monti. He wanted to unite his hospitality skills with his love for good wine, and established Il Palazzetto.
Il Palazzetto includes the Wine Bar on its two panoramic terraces overlooking the Spanish Steps, four boutique hotel rooms and a special location for memorable private events.
Inspired by the great hotels of the 1920’s, the Five Star Beaumont is much admired for it’s unique character and high level of personal service.
Occupying a 1926 Art Deco building in the heart of Mayfair, the Beaumont is steps away from high level shopping, and London’s finest galleries and museums. The intimate size of the hotel – only 73 rooms and suites – means every guest benefits from a very personal touch.
Private visit to the HM Belfast- and shooting the cannon that fired the first shot from the water on DDay, Hidden subways- where many of our favorite movies were filmed, private visit to the Churchill War Rooms, walking the rooftops of Hampton Court, private visit to Windsor Castle’s Chapel(with a view of the never open to the public Albert Chapel), preopening visit to
Highclere Castle, private meeting with the head of the Royal Guards at Windsor, the list is far too long to name all of the choices Noteworthy offers in Grest Britain.
The ultimate tour designer, Noteworthy, has added Paris to it’s repertoire.
Always known for top guides and imaginative touring, we were blown away by the insider knowledge of our guides and special entrances in Paris. Fast track Louvre and behind doors at the Sacre Cour were just a drop in the bucket to what Noteworthy can offer clients in Paris and London. It is all about their personal connections and the access is brilliant. Most importantly their activities are FUN! We never stopped laughing.
Laulhere is the last great Beret shop in the city, totally dedicated to making the hat most identified with France. We were treated to a beret making demonstration and got to choose a beret for ourselves. Typical clever noteworthy experience.
Lanesborough London- Glamorous Grande Dame
If you want to feel like a movie star, stay at the Lanesborough.
All rooms and suite guests have their own personal Butler, and the ultimate service.
I found the hotel elegant-decor beautifully and lovingly restored, with a warm residential feel.
For all that glamour, the hotel did not feel stuffy
Staff, from the GM on down were sincerely welcoming. That seems to be a theme with Oetker Collection hotels. They genuinely care about your well being
The most pleasant surprise is the humor of the British. We had a really delightful demonstration on the selection of teas at the Lanesborough, and importance of their butlers.
Legendary iconic hotel, in the heart of the fashion, design, and art district. Hôtel Le Bristol opened in 1925. Owned by the Oetker family, who also own among others,Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Chateau Saint-Martin,and Brenners Park, the hotel clearly reflects a family vibe. Managed by Leah Marshall the hotel brings a freshness and energy not often seen in a royal, palace hotel. Staff are all happy and the welcome is from the ear. No wonder the client return rate is around 63%. They sincerely make you feel at home. No stuffiness here. Rooms are large, bright and comfortable.
World renowned architect, Bill Bensley, designed the Dorado Beach property for Ritz Carlton and this is definitely one of his best. No detail was left untouched. It is a thoughtful, powerful product with a perfect sense of destination. The spa a particularly special scene and a must destination for any Ritz Carlton guest.
Natural Habitat Adventures has set up headquarters at the hotel and there is where we pick up our heavy boots and Parkas
In October, polar bears converge in Churchill Manitoba, after spending the summer foraging in the countryside.
The rivers start freezing and the ice flows into the Hudson Bay. Polar Bears’ major food source are seals, and as the ice on the bay freezes over, the bears can get out to the seals. Churchill was founded in the 1600’s as a trading post for the fur trade by the Hudson Bay company. Located on the southwestern side of Hudson Bay, Churchill turns into the Polar Bear Capital starting around October.
Thanks to Natural Habitat Adventures, our Brownell group of advisors had the privilege of experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.
Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee is offering a offering a series of concerts and fireworks on selected Sunday nights this summer.
Next concerts are Sunday, July 29: Jon McLaughlin
Sunday, August 5: Nathan Angelo
Sunday, September 2: Ansley Stewart (Labor Day Weekend)
Ansley Stewart and friends will be closing summer in style by playing hits from the 70’s through today. As one of Atlanta’s top cover bands, Stewart and friends will have you rocking the night away.
The Ritz Carlton on Lake Oconee is an easy to reach in the southern US. A great choice getaway for kids, Ritz is emerging as a top family destination.
Offering an extensive kids program with Junior Explorer, Spy Camp, and Field day, along with multiple lake and pool activities, the resort aims to please. The new and improved Ritz Kids Program is based on the Four Pillars of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society:
Water: Emphasizes the importance of sea life and health
Land: Encourages exploration and discovery
Environmental Responsibility: Promotes our role in the health of our planet for the future
Culture: Exposes young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs, history and cuisine[new and improved Ritz Kids Program based on the Four Pillars of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society:
Water: Emphasizes the importance of sea life and health
Land: Encourages exploration and discovery
Environmental Responsibility: Promotes our role in the health of our planet for the future
Culture: Exposes young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs, history and cuisine
A few of the different activities they offer at their vacation resort include: nature hikes or scavenger hunts, fishing, making pine cone bird feeders, shooting hoops on their court, exploring their tree house playground or performing plays in their Pollywog Theatre.
Definitely worth a visit!
The Austro-Hungarian monarchy of the Danube came into being in the year 1872 when the three separate settlements of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (literally “Old” Buda) were united into one city. Occupied by the Soviets until 1989, Hungary saw the end of communism and political freedom through the collapse of the soviet system. Heavily bombed in World War 11, the city has recovered and restored it’s major attractions with careful sense of it’s bountiful history.
Another food, music, and artistic haven, Budapest is a must visit destination.
Vienna is packed with options for Michelin dining, small cafes, shops that offer desserts, pstries,confectioneries, coffee selections that have a minimum of 4 different ways. The choices are everywhere
Restaurants we love:
Steirereck im Stadtpark is the top choice for a memorable but pricey dining experience in Vienna.
Ranked number 10 in the world, Chef Heinz Reitbauer, traditional Viennese cuisine with a twist was one of the best dining experiences ever.
Rouge Bar, Sacher Hotel romantic, relaxing, impeccable service. Impeccable all around.
Fabio’s – Vienna’s top rated Italian
Nautilus Naschmarkt -if you are visiting Nashmarkt, this seafood restaurant is a delight.
Heinz Beck returns to London to launch Beck at Brown’s Hotel this April
Beck at Brown’s comes to Mayfair on the heels of Beck’s hugely successful takeover of the space last December as part of the hotel’s celebration of Italian conviviality where he took up residence alongside drinks maestro Salvatore Calabrese. The restaurant will have, at its epicentre, Heinz’s Italian pedigree, refined over his years running kitchens in Rome, in the lauded La Pergola and Attimi- his recently opened more casual outpost. With a focus on a light, healthy menu featuring the highest quality produce – with Norfolk chicken and lamb from the organic Rhug estate. Each dish is crafted by Heinz to create a hearty Italian menu perfect for a swift lunch, formal dinner or private party. Beck at Brown’s brings dishes from throughout Italy, showcasing the diversity in cooking techniques throughout the country, from the hearty meat and fish dishes found in the mountainous north to the fresh citrusy flavours in the sun-drenched south. Copy courtesy of Brown’s Hotel press Department.
A marvelous addition to the Relais & Chateaux Japan collection is the beautiful Beniya Mukayu. Tranquil rooms with open-air baths in a hot springs hotel offering a garden setting, spa, and spectacular dining. The rooms have a traditional Japanese Mineral Spring tub. Located near the western coast of Central Japan, the drive offers spectacular coastal views.
Sasayuri-Ann is one of about 8 small villas and Ryokans we are going to experience. Owned by a village Buddhist priest, Tetsuji Matsubayashi, the villa was surpassed all expectations! Hosted by he and his family, we were most pleasantly surprised to have a flute serenade by his teacher- who plays all over the world. Then the topper was having dinner prepared by another friend, a Michelin Chef.
Japan- amazing ancient culture!
Polite, respectful, serene. We are finding the people of Japan to be warm and welcoming! I am privileged to be on a 16 day journey planned by Windows to Japan. Today we are in Kyoto at the incredible Four Seasons Kyoto. Typically the FS service is over the top, and this hotel was perfect.
Seabourn Odyssey -Cruise heaven!
Where do I start? Food, Spa and Dr Andrew Weil wellness focus, elegant, attentive service, large suite sizes, and great off ship excursions are all top notch. I could go on and on, and on. There are some great cruise lines out there, but Seabourn has the edge.
So many activity options for Edinburgh!
Touring Edinburgh Castle, sunrise at Arthur’s Seat- the highest peak of the hills in Edinburgh, walking Old Town and the Royal Mile, visiting the underground streets of Mary King’s close, sampling scotch whiskey,having a kilt made in your family pattern are all interesting experiences.
Visiting the Royal Britannia after hours is a special experience- we toured the ship and had tea.
Extraordinary private visit to Broomhall House was amazing!
The principal seat of the Earls of Elgin and Kincardine, Broomhall House and its surrounding estate has been looked after by 13 successive generations of the Bruce family, lineal descendants of King Robert the Bruce. The Earl of Elgin was famous for bringing the Elgin Marbles to Great Britain. Recently opened for private events, Broomhall House is a must see.
Rocco Forte Balmoral Hotel is a no brainer for one’s hotel choice in Edinburgh
The stately five star Grand Dame opened in 1903 and has been greeting Queens, Kings, statesmen and celebrities ever since.
Situated by Waverly Station, hotel porters meet guests at the train station, and whisk them from the station hall to the reception desk in the hotel in no time. The award winning hotel is brilliantly managed by Richard Cooke. Mr. Cooke has the hotel spinning like a top. Staff is happy, enthusiastic and completely engaged in providing each guest with a top notch experience. No wish is too difficult to accomplish. The tireless Mr. Cooke seems to be everywhere. The standard starts at the top and it is quite evident this hotel is run beautifully.
Interesting aside- JK Rowlings wrote her last Harry Potter book on premises, and her suite is marked by a purple door. She was a regular guest.
Opening in 1815 and welcoming Kings and Queens since 1855, Le Meurice is considered one of the most beautiful and opulent hotels in Paris. The decor of every bedroom and suite are unique, many with views of the Eiffel Tower. Located across from the Tuileries, the position is perfect. Philippe Stark recently renovated the public rooms and Bar 228. We found the staff and service to be outstanding.
Probably the most unique hotel in the world, Giraffe Manor was created by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. They were very interested in animal conservation, and bought the faux Scottish hunting lodge, in 1974. That year, the amiable giraffes, who kept poking their heads interestedly through the first-floor bedroom window were about to be dispossessed, their habitat lost to farmland development and their lives threatened.
Betty persuaded her husband to allow the giraffes to live on their 15-acre estate, and the couple began the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, based in Kenya and Maryland, which later bought an additional 105 acres for the giraffes. They adopted Daisy, one of the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes—which can be as tall as 20 feet, making them the tallest of the species. Daisy’s descendants have since proliferated, and the Leslie – Melvilles added the Giraffe Center, open to the public, on the southern part of the property.
Dramatically set on the ridge overlooking the Masai Mara, Angama Mara brings glamour and extraordinary comfort to the vast Park. The Camp is within walking distance to the burial place of Denys Finch Hatton, a fittingly romantic overtone to one’s sense of Out of Africa.
Here you can live it.
The Staff is well prepared to welcome us and tries to accomplish our every request.
Meals and drinks on the vast deck is just sublime. Rooms are huge with glass windows- floor to ceiling -to capture that dramatic view.
Waking up to a kind voice saying Jambo and bringing hot chocolate, African sunrises and sunsets in that unlimited sky, rain storms rolling across the plains, almost running over a sleeping lion in the tall grass, learning about animal alarm calls when a predator is near, smells of a night fire, adopting orphan elephants, feeding Giraffe from your hand, learning polite words in Swahili, making bows and arrows with a Masai warrior, learning to build a fire from dung, visiting a Masai village, seeing the joy on children’s faces when giving mosquito nets to a school, visiting Karen Blixen’s home, sundowners, hearing the sounds of thousands of wildebeest in the migration, experiencing new food and tastes, the list can go on for days.
Learning and understanding wildlife in their habitat, watching them up closely in their daily activities is the ultimate thrill. There is so much the children expeiienced that cannot be listed. The enrichment was immense and incredibly satisfying to experience. A window in time that will never be recaptured. Traveling with children is priceless.
Sirikoi Lodge- Heaven on Earth – Lewa Downs Conservancy, Kenya
Beautifully managed by Tom and Nikki Hartley, Sirikoi aims to please. We think it is our favorite Camp. The staff is so warm and welcoming, food is amazing, and the setting is unforgettable. Main dining area is off the Lodge right next to a water hole. So there is always action right in front of your eyes. Decor is impeccable with an organic garden that rivals anything we have seen. All food comes directly from the garden. Sirikoi is a hard place to leave.
Both Relais & Chateaux and Virtuoso, Ol Donyo Was is an amazing Lodge in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. One of the few Lodges with it’s own blind, Ol Donyo affords spectacular safe viewing of wildlife, up close and personal. Suites have huge glass doors open up to the plains and unforgettable views. The staff is highly trained and delightful. Our guide Elijah taught the children how to make bows and arrows out of tree branches. He was amazingly good with the kids. They hated to say goodbye. Perfect place for children on Safari, activities include horseback riding. The day of riding was a huge highlight.