Villa 1 Nettleton Road, In Residence Cape Town South Africa

Staircase Villa 1 Nettleton Road Cape Town- it also has an elevator


Villa 1 is more intime: 4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, a study, kitchen, dining area, and pool. 9000 square feet. On 4 floors, upstairs bedroom views are as stunning as Villa 5 Nettleton Road.

Master bedroom Corner suite – Villa One , In Residence

Kitchen Villa 1 , In Residence Cape Town

One of the two living rooms, In Residence Villa One Cape Town

Silo Hotel Cape Town – Simply Spectacular!

Room 801 Silo Hotel


Finally open, Royal Portfolio’s latest property, the Silo Hotel Capetown is simply spectacular
We knew it would be impressive, but the Silo surpassed all expectations.
It is impeccably decorated in bright colors, and incredible African art. Liz Biden searched the world over, and came back with an smashing collection of art, mirrors, lighting and furnishings.
The ever changing waterfront scene can be viewed from the rooftop bar and floor to ceiling windows in the rooms and throughout the hotel.
Bright, happy, elegant and absolutely the place to be in Cape Town.

Shambala Zulu Camp South Africa

Shambala Zulu Lodge is owned by the same family that has the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.

Lodge Zulu Camp


Shambala is a Tibetan word meaning “peace on earth”. The Camp is built in Zulu Style- undaluting thatched huts. Huts that are very specious and comfortable with tall ceilings, and beautiful bathrooms. Attention to detail, down to crisp linen sheets, is delightful. It is a small place – 9 chalets. It welcomes a lot of heads of states and security is top notch. We can helicopter from Johannesburg or take a two and half hour drive up into the Waterberg Mountains- north of Johannesburg. A Malaria free zone, Shambala las 12,000 acres of private game reserve.
I found the staff to be completely warm and welcoming. My butler, Norman, anticipated every wish. I never had to repeat a request. Always there with a smile. The food was outstanding, by chef Tshepo. Probably the most inventive, beautifully presented and just great tasting meals I have ever experienced on Safari. I will dream about his homemade bread. Teamed with his wife, Elizabeth, the manager, the operation of the camp spins like a top.

Hotels We Loved in Morocco

So many divine, exotic, stunning hotels, in Morocco. Marrakech alone has 6 prime properties: Royal Mansour, La Mamounia, Villa des Orangers, Amanjena, Four Seasons Marrakech, and Mandarin Oriental Marrakech. My absolute favorites are Mandarin Oriental Marrakech, then Villa des Orangers, then La Mamounia.

Enormous Pool Villa Mandarin Oriental Marrakech. Absolutely stunning. They even have a heated tub!

Enormous Pool Villa Mandarin Oriental Marrakech. Absolutely stunning. They even have a heated tub!

Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

Royal Mansour is the ultimate resort in Marrakech.

Royal Mansour is the ultimate resort in Marrakech.


Interior Courtyard at charming Palais Amani in  Fes a Relais & Chateaux property.

Interior Courtyard at charming Palais Amani in Fes -a Relais & Chateaux property.

Fes boasts Riad Fes and Palais Amani, the grand Dame, Palais Jamais is under extensive renovation till end of 2017. Another must stay is near the desert, Dar Ahlam. Incredibly beautiful and the food is out of this world!

Moroccan Desert

Our intrepid group on top of a dune

Our intrepid group on top of a dune

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Our camel guide

Our camel guide

Le Souk Fes

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The markets of Fes are thriving pulsing, filled with energy. Every possible craft, clothing, fruit, flower, meat, vegetable, spice, sweet, one can imagine, is there. Always interesting. image

On the Waterfront , Lodhi Hotel Delhi

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Glass walled poolside restaurant raises the bar on the already impressive Delhi dining scene. With central kitchens on both floors, food ranges from pan Asian through the Middle East to European. A wonderful dining experience!

Images of Ladakh

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Stunning serene country.

Lindblad Expeditions- Cruising on a Different Level.

Lindblad Sea Bird

Lindblad Sea Bird

Intrepid explorers getting ready for an interesting hike.

Intrepid explorers getting ready for an interesting hike.

Tricia -Tree hugging Pacific NW Style

Tricia -Tree hugging Pacific NW Style


Amazing Sea Lions encounter!

Amazing Sea Lions encounter!

Returning from an exciting adventure

Returning from another exciting adventure

Linblad is not about the hardware on board the ship. They want their guests to have the most amazing experience possible. They do not expect for you to stay in your room, they want you out and seeing all the destination has to offer.
Their staff is considered the top in their respective fields- the cream of the crop. Even better, they don’t take themselves seriously. They are very earnest in being sure you see, taste, smell and absorb the world around you. When you experience a cruise on Lindblad, you are going to get the best possible information, service, attention and experience. And the food is incredible too! I found the cruise exciting, extremely informative and most importantly tons of fun.

A Day in Seattle

Spectacular Chihuly Exhibit

Spectacular Chihuly Exhibit

Chihuly  Exhibit

Chihuly Exhibit

Space Needle - a must

Space Needle – a must

Flowers at Pike Place Market

Flowers at Pike Place Market


I started with lunch at Pigalle Place in Pike Place Market. Wonderful French restaurant, highly recommended and worth every bite. Divine. Gwen Hoover at the Four a Seasons Seattle strongly recommended the Chihuly exhibit – a world renowned glass artist and resident of Seattle. I am SO glad I took her suggestion. Anyone that visits Seattle should make it number 1 on their experience list. Other musts are Pike Place Market, the monorail to the Needle- the Chuhuly exhibit is next door and a walk back to the Four Seasons by way of first street. Couldn’t ask for a better day!
Tomorrow I board the Lindblad Sunbird for an excursion to the San Jean Islands. Can’t wait!

London’s Hotels are Spectacular!

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image Doormen at the Amazing Corinthia

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image Top of the heap- the legendary Goring.

I had the privilege of staying at the Stafford, Milestone, Cliveden, Corinthia, and Goring. All these hotels were outstanding. Particular characteristics will suit different clients.
Can’t wait to book them. London is all and all one of the best city experiences I have had in a long time.

Noteworthy- DMC Extraodinaire

Noteworthy -Destination Management Company Extraordinaire!
Blessed with unparalleled access to all things British, Susie Worthy and Nicola Butler can plan and execute almost anything a client could dream- with the exception of a private wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral or Tea with Queen Elizabeth. We had the most spectacular experience with Noteworthy this past week, surprise after delightful surprise. From our private visit to Highclere Castle, walking on the rooftop of Hampton Court, a pre opening visit to Winston Churchill’s War Rooms- even sitting in the great man’s chair, a walk up the back staircase in St. Paul’s to see the camera view for Diana and Charles wedding of the century, to a private visit to Prince Charles garden at Highgrove. The topper was our own personal dinner at the Tower of London – ending with the ceremony of the Keys.

Highgrove

Highgrove

Magnificent table in the Tower of London

Magnificent table in the Tower of London

Tower of London Dinner

Tower of London Dinner

Back staircase at St. Paul's Cathedral

Back staircase at St. Paul’s Cathedral

Highclere Castle - our own personal visit

Highclere Castle – our own personal visit

View from the rooftop of Hampton Court

View from the rooftop of Hampton Court

Rooftop of Hampton Court

Rooftop of Hampton Court

Cliveden House -Tarlow England

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Always considered a house for entertaining, Cliveden was built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. He built the house as a hunting lodge and a place to entertain his friends and mistress. Set on 376 acres of glorius parks, the House is part of the National Trust. Cliveden has hosted every British Monarch since George I. Three Dukes and an Earl lived there. Queen Victoria was a frequent guest, and one of the notable later owners was American William Randolph Astor. The 1960’s scandal, the Profumo affair began at Cliveden. The affair helped topple the Conservative Party Government in Parliament.
A Relais & Chateaux member, Cliveden’s Andre Garrett oversees the award winning dining room.
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Milestone Hotel- British to the Bone

Swan at Kensington Palace

Swan at Kensington Palace


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Situated across from Kensington Palace, the Milestone is a delightful surprise. British to the hilt the general feeling is warm and cozy. The staff is the most genuine I have encountered- from the doorman to the butler to the very charming GM, Andrew Pike. One feels quite at home at the Milestone.

The Wolseley London

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The Wolsley was one of our favorite dining spots. If has a french brasserie feel- big menu, lots of choices. Waiters in white aprons. Black and white tile floor, strike the perfect scene.
Starting with a Kir royale, I ordered the lemon sole and a crisp Chablis. We ended with a classic dessert -Pot de Creme. Perfect start to culinary adventure in London

Stafford London

Tucked away in the heart of historic St James’s, and just minutes from London’s iconic landmarks and vibrant West End, the Stafford London never disappoints. The solicitous staff ensures that guests always insist on returning. The Staffird has an incredible loyal following. Recently renovated, it is a number of townhouses put together. It is the most quiet hotel I have ever experienced. We stayed in the Mews section, on the courtyard. The rooms have a more clean, contemporary feel. Beds were heaven! I slept to 10A the first morning and almost missed breakfast.
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&Beyond Grumeti River Camp

&Beyond Grumeti River Camp provides a private Serengeti experience with exclusive game viewing in some of the most secluded parts of Africa’s most famous game reserve. The Grumeti Reserve is located in the remote Western Corridor of the Serengeti. Its rustic yet sophisticated safari tents are tucked into the shade of an evergreen forest on the banks of a tributary of the famous Grumeti River. The staff was superb: very warm and welcoming. Food again was outstanding We had some of the best wines selections there. image Welcome song from Grumeti River camp.

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Magnificent Serengeti Game

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It is easy to become caught up in the complexity of Africa: the history, the people, the camps, the tribes. To me, the magic of the continent is the interaction of the animals. Everyday is a new discovery.

Lemala Kuria Hills Camp

Taking a short flight further into the Serengeti, we visited Lemala’s Kuria Hills Camp.
No bucket showers here! Gorgeous bathtubs, blow driers, bright lighting, a completely different tented camp experience. The terrain was rocky with giant boulders, reminding me of Zimbabwe. Beautiful location. imageimageimage

Fond Farewell to Serengeti Under Canvas

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It is a basic mobile tented camp designed to follow the migration. Bucket Showers, and minimum services. But the staff made it a first rate experience. The food – out of a really basic kitchen -was some of the best we had. The staff was friendly, engaged, and welcoming. I will remember this camp fondly, and plan to return.

Tracking the Migration in the Serengeti

Coffee and Amarula- yum!

Coffee and Amarula- yum!

 

&beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Camp

&beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Camp

We have flown to the Serengeti to see a different terrain, and to follow the migration. Serengeti Under Canvas is a true mobile camp- everything is folded up, packed and moved when needed and one would never know it had been there. No fooprint!

Lake Manyara Tree House- a most pleasant surprise

href=”https://catherinewhitworth.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/image6.jpeg” rel=”attachment wp-att-3789″>Lake Manyara Tree House
We had the pleasure of staying at Lake Manyara Tree House, an And Beyond property. Rooms were spacious, luxurious, 5 star in every way. The exceptional staff made us feel so welcome. A complete pleasure and I hope to return.

Lake Manyara Tanzania

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Known for it’s lions resting in trees to escape the dreaded Tsetse fly, and the glorius flamingos on the lake, Manyara was a delightful surprise. The national park has some of the most lush jungle vegetation I have ever seen. We visited a Massai village, always a warm experience. image

Viewings of Galapagos from Silver Sea

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Frigatebird flapping for attention

Frigatebird flapping for attention

Passing Scenery - Galapagos

Passing Scenery – Galapagos

Silver Sea Galapagos – Home for the Next 8 Days

Silver Sea Galapagos

Silver Sea Galapagos


Silver Sea Galapagos is a relatively new introduction to options for a Galapagos Journey. It is a 50 cabin luxury expedition ship. With two restaurants, the food options are delightful. Of course Silver Sea has the usual unparalleled Butler service. Any wish – within limits- is their command. The staff has been outstanding, another Silver Sea standard. Cabins are large for an expedition ship, the only thing missing are bathtubs. They use zodiacs for forays into the islands and the guides are top notch. The daily schedule is jam packed. You will not miss one bird, iguana or anything that moves. This is NOT roughing it.

Sightings on Rapida Island Galapagos

Galapagos Grey Herron

Galapagos Grey Herron

one of the striking birds we saw on Rapida Island was the Galapagos Grey Heron. We also saw Penguins, and Pelicans that rest in the mangroves. We continue to marvel at the plenthora of exotic birds and animals that are indigenous to the Islands of the Galapagos.

Magnificent Frigatebird on North Seymour Island

Magnificent Frigatebird trying attract attention

Magnificent Frigatebird trying attract attention


Found on North Seymour Island, Galapagos. Stunning birds, we see thousands of them on this island.

Galapagos: North Seymour Island

Blue Footed Boobys

Blue Footed Boobys


On North Seymour we encounter the blue footed booby. This bird does an elaborate mating dance – shifting from one foot to another – trying to gain his future mate’s attention.
Other sightings include Land Iguanas, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Sea lions, Swallowtailed Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Galapagos Yellow Finches and Marine Iguanas.
Blue Footed Booby- trying out his mating dance

Blue Footed Booby- trying out his mating dance

Travel is more than a destination in mind…

It is discovering a place in your heart you’ve never been before.
Anon.
Giraffe at Phinda

Four Seasons Westcliff – Johannesburg South Africa

Brand new pool at the Four Seasons Joberg

Brand new pool at the Four Seasons Joberg

Fabulous new rooftop bar.

Fabulous new rooftop bar.

Four Seasons fans will not be disappointed with the newly renovated Four Seasons Johannesburg, formerly the Orient Express Westcliff. 20-30 minutes from OR Tambo international airport, the Four Seasons displayed it’s usual outstanding service. I can attest to that personally. After coming off safari with “safari” hair, I emailed to see if I could get a simple wash and blow dry. The Spa manager, Julanda Marais responded by arranging for a beautician to come to my room! That was with one day’s notice!
Offering a spectacular new spa, five outstanding new restaurants, bars and lounges – the View restaurant opening with 1 Michelin star- the Four Seasons has a fun and lively buzz.

Usual Four Seasons Fab Flowers

Usual Four Seasons Fab Flowers

Tswalu Kalahari -South Africa

Top notch guide Warren and out tracker, Jackson

Top notch guide Warren and our tracker, Jackson

A few of the details that make Tswalu Kalahari so special are the shuttle flights: private jets like the Pilatus PC-12, the lounge for your transfer -Fireblade – is in a class all it’s own with day rooms a massage therapist, and private chef on call. Offering a small number of cottages on property, the resort suits both families and honeymooners. Most especially the best offering is the private vehicle , guide and tracker for each set of guests. If you booked singly or came with 4 friends, you get you own land rover, guide and tracker. That is the height of luxury on safari! They dedicate up to 9 vehicles, guides and trackers for their guests. The reserve is so large, you never seem to see more than one other vehicle when one is out on a game drive. Our guide, Warren, knew that reserve like the back of his hand. He even found a pack of wild dogs in a impossible to find location!! Wild dogs!! What a thrill!!! My first sighting in all my years of safari tracking.
Guides and trackers focus on what a guest wants to see, ie birds or predators- or both!! You see it all!!!

ultimate  luxury - private vehicle, guide and tracker

ultimate luxury – private vehicle, guide and tracker

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Tswalu Kalahari – Motse Lodge

Part of the villa - Motse Lodge , Tswalu

Part of the villa – Motse Lodge , Tswalu

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Tswalu Kalahari – Malaria Free Zone

Lodge image courtesy of Tswalu Kalahari

My first safari experience this trip was to Tswalu Kalahari. The Kalahari is a desert, so I was amazed at the lush greeness of the preserve. The property encompasses 250,000 acres, yes I said 250,000 acres. The largest property I have ever seen, and vistas are stunning. Chosen as a National Geographic Unique safari lodge, Tswalu’s capacity is 30 people. Prime game viewing is black mane lion, meerkats, wild dog, giraffe, sable, oryx, giraffe. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, Tsawlu is dedicated to conservation. They use their own private planes so the experience starts with a bang. They offer the usual car and driver and also horseback. Formerly a Relais & Chateau the food is a cut above.

Unspoiled luxury!!

Unspoiled luxury!!

My transfer to Tswalu- awesome

My transfer to Tswalu- awesome

The Iconic Mount Nelson Hotel- Cape Town

The iconic Mount Nelson Hotel- Cape Town


I stayed in the Mount Nelson and the Cape Grace, both fabulous properties where personal service is top notch.

ILTM Africa – a huge success!

Cape Town

Cape Town

Table Mountain   -Cape Town South Africa

Table Mountain -Cape Town South Africa


I visited Cape Town to attend the International Luxury Travel Market. Meeting with suppliers from the best hotels, safari camps, African resorts, tour companies, ground operators, flight companies from all over Africa gave me the opportunity to establish continued connections and find out about new exciting properties. Some of the highlights for me were Mount Rochelle, recently opened by Richard Branson near Franschoek (the wine lands), Grand Dedale- another beautiful bed & breakfast in the wine lands, Residence in Zanzibar, African Elite properties ( privately owned villas that are a cut above), Residence on the Rocks in the Seycelles. The most exciting new camp is Angama Mara, a new safari lodge being built on the edge of Africa’s Rift Valley and overlooking Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Set to open in a few months, this camp will be a must experience! Can’t wait to go!!
Another exciting opening is Royal Portfolio’s fabulous new hotel in Cape Town : the Silo. A completely new build. The Silo hotel will occupy an old Silo on the waterfront. The lower floors will house the new African Contemporary Art museum. The mock ups of the rooms and public areas are spectacular. All glass, the views will be unforgettable.

Day 4 Hike Atacama Luna Valley – best one!

imageTowering sand dunes and a straight up ascent. A 5K hike with stunning panoramic vistas that seemed to go forever. The best hike of all. Ending with a slide down a 200 foot dune

A gentle start that took a sharp turn upwards.

A gentle start that took a sharp turn upwards.


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On the cliff edge - looking straight down into the Luna Valkey

On the cliff edge – looking straight down into the Luna Valkey

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Day 3 – Afternoon hike – Punta del Inca

imageCactus fields and a flowing river in the desert- novel experience.
The hike is climbing over the boulders beside the river, down a canyon and climbing out to a marvelous panoramic view of the mountain range.
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Day 3 Morning Hike -Kari

We started walking through a field of large stones, then continued trekking on the edge of a 200 foot cliff- scared the life out of me! Then walked down a giant sand dune, crossed a very wide salt flat and walked through the Kari Ravine. The Kari Ravine us a small canyon formed by water erosion and surrounded by enormous salt walls. We walked through a dry river bed covered with salt. There were two rock wall drops that required rock wall climbing skills. I made it, but it was terrifying.
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The edge is on the right side of the image.

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Explorer Excursions

Explorer Atacama resort is a base for exploring some of the most extraordinary landscapes in the world. Enormous mountains and volcanos tower over geysers, multicolored lagoons, and salt flats in the midst of an ancient civilation. Think Canyon Ranch with all outdoor activities – stunning ever changing vistas. Hikes are for beginners to mountain climbing experts. Atacama is loaded with volcanos, canyons, salt flats, dry rivers, waterfalls wet and dry, enormous sand dunes, geysers, hot springs, and ancient petroglyphs. It reminds me a lot of Grand Canyon, and Brice Canyon to name a few. Everywhere one looks, the vistas are spectacular.
Day 1 hike: started with a walk straight up a dry waterfall- gulp! When we reached the top, the view of the volcanos were amazing. We then walked through a gorgeous salt wall canyon. Pictures below:
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Explorer Atacama – philosophy

At Explorer we are inspired to travel for the pleasure of the journey itself, and by the richness of the experiences it brings. They call their philosophy the Art of travel, and it is based on three pillars: remote areas, in depth explorations and luxury of the essentials.

Explorer Atacama offers 30 Hiking explorations- half and full day, 12biking explorations – half and full day and 15 horseback riding excursions.

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Explorer – Atacama Desert, Chile

Volcano - it's not a painting View of the Volcano from Explorer Atacama  Lobby
Volcanos seen from the explorer lobby.

High contemporary decor- lots of whites. Explorer’s service is impeccable. Equate Explorer with activity: hiking, biking, and the only resort with horseback riding. Easy to extreme!

Heading off to the Atacama Desert

Driving to Atacama Desert
We flew into Calama, Chile then made an hour and 15 minute drive to Explorer Atacama. Colors are so muted and serene. Blues, beiges and whites. Easy drive. Another world completely.

Rooftop Pool Ritz Carlton Santiago

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Poolside at the Ritz Carlton Santiago

Ritz Carlton Santiago – traditional luxury

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The usual tip top service, Ritz Carlton Santiago has lived up to it’s considerable reputation. Rooms are impeccable, beds are like sleeping on a cloud.

Off to Chile -flying the Divine Dreamliner on LAN

Probably the most comfortable sleep on a plane in a long while. LAN offers a comforter inside a sheet- sort of like a sleeping bag. So you lie on the comforter under the sheet. The lighting is unusual prevelant pinks and blues and i am told the humidity is pumped up so one sleeps more comfortably. I did not wake up till 20 minutes before we landed in Santiago. We hardly felt the take off and landing. Huge plane! image

image We are guests of LAN Airlines, Ritz Carlton, A&K Chile and Explora Atacama. It is such a privilege to learn about new travel options.