Images of my some of my favorite past travel adventures. An adventure to Africa is life changing.
Dreaming of the road I have traveled. Can’t wait to continue
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.
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.
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.
Originally built as the Gresham Life Assurance Company in 1906, the Art Noveau beauty was acclaimed by the world even then. It was built with the skill provided by the most acclaimed craftsmen of the time.
Nearly destroyed by World War II, it was restored over a 5 year period matching every single piece of existing historical part of decor to bring it back to its original glory, even returning to the original manufacturers when possible. Bought by Four Season Hotels in 1997, and with the support of the Hungarian government, the doors reopened on June 18, 2004. Host to celebrities and royalty, the Four Seasons Budapest is the top choice for Budapest.
An interesting tidbit: the chandelier is not by Chihuly, it is by Presciosa Lighting from the Czech Republic. Chihuly uses glass, the chandelier is crystal.
Ritz Carlton Vienna – superb location and love the club lounge.
With restaurants, shops, parks and important sights all around it, the Ritz Carlton is in a prime location. We found drinks to average 17E a pop, which made the Ritz Club lounge pretty appealing. Loved the rooms and again, service was warm and spot on.
Top choice for Hotels:
Sacher Hotel Wien
Ritz Carlton Vienna
Two completely different hotel experiences from a decorative standpoint. Sacher is traditional, glamorous and as old world as a classic hotel can get. Ritz Carlton is contemporary and with their club lounge and rooftop bar- hard to beat.
Other top contenders are the Bristol with a stellar location across from the Opera, and the Imperial Hotel with their old world glamour.
The brand new Park Hyatt is a restored bank and they kept the classical features with a contemporary decor.
All hotels are Virtuoso had impeccable service.
One checks in and gets an immediate sense of Kyoto. Japanese culture is on display in every corner. Rooms are luxurious with a floor to ceiling window view of the city. Japanese design with an extreme sense of luxury. Both 5 Star hotels in Kyoto, the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons are superb choices for an experience in Kyoto.
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.
Spain- Foodie Heaven!
I knew Spain has always been a dining destination – with 3 restaurants on the top 10 of the top 50 in the world, but never realized that basic dishes were a cut above. We started our dining focus in Spain with a tapas tour, set up by our fabulous DMC – Madrid & Beyond. Our guide, Carlos, took us to his neighborhood in Madrid and we began our tapas tour as Spaniards do, with a special recipe of vermouth to drink, and olives to sample. We then moved on to different small tapas bars ending in a supermercado in San Anton dedicated to gourmet dining.
We tasted simple small dishes with thinly sliced Iberian ham- there is an art to the slicing, olives, cheeses, bread, steak, fresh tomatoes, wine, wine, wine. An incredible experience, I strongly recommend to all that want to get a sense of Spain.
The rest of the trip was focused on Spanish culture with a food focus. We went on to sample a dining range from simple to the highest Michelin starred restaurant, such as Ramon Freixa. Freixa was a 25 course tasting menu with wine pairings. Be prepared for a 3 hour sitting- simply sublime!
Next blog will be about our favorite restaurants.
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.
Created in 1953 by Jamaica-born entrepreneur John Pringle,Round Hill been a favorite of celebrities for years. JFK and Jackie honeymooned in Villa 10. Oscar Hammerstein was the first owner of Villa 12. Alfred Hitchcock, Bing Crosby, and Adele Astaire were regulars—as were Bill and Babe Paley. Beyond that, Noël Coward, who was a frequent visitor, stayed in Villa 3.
Cottage owner, Ralph Lauren did a major renovation on the ocean front rooms.
RH is located on a 100-acre peninsula that was originally a sugar plantation. The cottages are built on the round hills, sloping down to the water . The British claimed Jamaica in 1629, the infuluence of their best traditions still remain.
With a year round temperate climate and nonstop access from most east coast airports, Jamaica is a perfect destination.
Unique to Round Hill, 27 private cottages combined with 37 sumptuous guest rooms offer a wide range of accommodation options. For weddings,the RH cottages, allow families and friends easy access for private celebrations, mingling with hotel rooms for group gatherings. It’s Old World Glamour affords one a delightful Colonial Caribbean sense of place.
At Round Hill the words past and present coexist not merely peacefully, but joyfully.
What an adventure! The utter silence! The serenity of the sand. Luxurious tented camps that had all possible comforts. I can check camel riding off the list. We hiked up to the highest dune on our vicinity. We watched a sunset and then the next morning rode to watch the sunrise. We had dinner in the main tent, entertained by a group of local musicians. Fun to listen to indigenous music. The fabulous food that comes from an isolated kitchen always amazes me. Wine was flowing- couldn’t have asked for more.
The Archeological Site of Volubilis,recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site near Fes. The remaining structures and mosaics tell the tale of a city that once thrived. The ruins that have been spared are beautifully preserved relics of Roman Life.
It is believed that this spectacular city was constructed around 40 AD and that it was built on an old settlement which dated back to the third century. It became the administrative capital of the area and was known as Mauretania. The extremely fertile lands that surrounded the city produced olive oils and grains that were exported to Rome. The region also produces a good Rose wine
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!
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.
London is happening!!
Always an exciting city, lately London seems to be the number one requested destination for travel.
Be it the stepped up restaurants or the hot new hotels, prime shopping, fashion, the people viewing – to say nothing of the plenthora of sightseeing. It has absolutely jumped into first place. I have never seen so many fancy cars in my life. Financially it is a force.
I am in London checking out interesting restaurants, and seeing some of the top hotels – London has many to offer
Galapagos Land Iquanas often reach 3 feet in length. North Seymour Island also has Sea Iguanas, but smaller in size.
Galapagos is must experience for any Intrepid Traveler!
I had the privilege of sailing with Silver Sea Galapagos, a new expedition ship sailing the Galápagos Islands. We traveled to a different island- sometimes two, each day. Each island has it’s own marvels. Our first Island to explore was Genovese in the northern part of the group. It is aptly named bird island.
View from the deck of &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Phinda Vlei cottage
&Beyond Phinda’s private game reserve measures 56,800 acres. It has 7 different habitats, and 6 vastly different lodges: Vlei, Forest, and Homestead on the upper part of the property and Zuka, Rock and Mountain in the more mountainous, western part of the reserve Phinda is know for it’s abundant wildlife- especially their pride of Lion and coalition of Cheetah.
What I recognized immediately was the heartfelt care of the staff. Katherine, Grateful, Happiness, Madu, Baby Jake, Mr M, France, and Essence embody what makes African service unforgettable. They mean it from their heart.
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!!!
Sitting at the bar with a nice glass of champagne- ahhhh…
4000 talented travel consultants, suppliers and press converge in Las Vegas one week each year to connect, learn and enhance their clients’ travel experience. The energy and passion for this travel connection is immense. Classes are offered by the top travel experts in the business- highlighted by Helen Nodland, and the always delightful Ann Scully. An active network called VAST offers an all day exposition to better learn about the latest and greatest offerings in the active travel industry.
We meet hotel General Managers, heads of hotel marketing, destination management companies, tour operators, safari operators, airline representatives, destination wedding suppliers, and sales directors from all over the world – 396 meetings over a four day period. We meet before the general meetings, at specialized luncheons, cocktail parties and dinners, in addition to the 396 presentations. By the time the week is over, I can say I am thoroughly ensconced in travel information. I came home energized, inspired, armed with the best information and fabulous new connections to enable me to make my clients dreams come true.
Since it’s inception in 1928, Sea Island Cloister has welcomed generations of families for their summer fun. Chock full of the usual activities: beach play, beach club games, beach walking, biking, crabbing, sailing, boating, windsurfing, fishing, sea kayaking, incredible spa experiences, horseback riding on the beach, skeet shooting, falconry, the Cloister has maintained the fun but raised it to a new level of elegance. Bingo at the Cloister has taken on a new luster. I think there were at least 400 people participating- ages 5-95. Dueling pianos on Friday is not to be missed- like a piano bar on steroids.
Sea Island has never looked more beautiful with it’s Spanish Moss draping the trees. There is a special sense of place on Sea Island and my family will have the memorable experiences growing up there that I had. A wonderful, peaceful, gorgeous, elegant place, like no other.