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HTL HTL TRAVELTATTLER Professional Purveyors of Travel

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Q2 2016

TRAVEL NEWS, TIPS AND TIDBITS

LETTER FROM THE CEO HTL NEWS INSPIRATION IN NEPAL INTRODUCING TAHITI’S BRANDO TRAVEL TIPS & TRICKS TATTLER TIDBITS

H U F F M A N C H I C A G O

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Professional Purveyors of Travel

LETTER FROM THE CEO Dear Friends of Huffman Travel, Happy Spring! It’s hard to believe we are already in the fourth month of 2016. A year that started out with a bang continues to bring us surprises and challenges around every corner.

Shawna and family on a recent trip to St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean

I’m happy to report that you, our clients, are traveling to Paris as passionately as ever this summer. The city is booming in June when it will host the 2016 Euro Soccer games. The travel trends I see taking shape this year include ‘Going Deep’ and a growing desire for people wanting to ‘Disconnect to Reconnect’. What do I mean by each of these? We see a growing number of travelers who are asking us to help them not only travel, but live in new and enticing destinations. We are planning longer stays for clients in cities and countries where they want to live like locals more than visit like tourists. Equally, we are being challenged to curate itineraries that take our clients off the beaten path and even ‘off the grid’. Whereas, a few years ago the idea of being without reliable cell or wifi coverage was unthinkable, it seems that in 2016, intrepid travelers are asking us to send them places where they are forced to ‘hit the pause button’ (see Stephanie’s article on Nepal). Wherever you’re headed next, Happy Travels!

Shawna Huffman Owen President & CEO, Huffman Travel LTD

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HTL NEWS We are pleased to announce that Angela Schoenhard has assumed the role of Director of Operations for Huffman Travel. In addition to officially overseeing areas of internal / operational functions, she will continue to work personally with our clients. Congratulations, Angie! As members of Virtuoso, we strive for continuous improvement. Three of our luxury travel advisors completed a Virtuoso Accreditation course during the last week of February at Trump International Hotel in Chicago. Please join the Huffman Travel team in applauding Jayme Hood, Shelane Nunnery and Sandi Todorovich for their commitment to excellence and inspiration! The world was shaken by the news of the recent attack in Brussels. We find ourselves filled with sadness for the victims of these terror attacks and they continue to remain in our thoughts. The travel industry is a global community. Our business partners and friends, although often on the other side of the earth, are an intricate part of our daily existence. We would like to remind our readers of Virtuoso’s freedom statement that speaks to our profession and of our network, “BOUNDARIES DIVIDE. TRAVEL UNITES.”

“Just returned from the serene, private island of Song Saa in Cambodia. Disconnect to reconnect.” - Tony Huffman

A big thank you to our incredible hotel partners at Dorchester Collection for inviting Huffman Travel to join their esteemed, invitation-only Diamond Club. As members of this elite club, our clients receive guaranteed upgrades and other amenities at all Dorchester properties worldwide.

Angela Schoenhard, Huffman Travel’s Director of Operations (at right)


“I was unprepared for the beauty and mysticism within the Kingdom of Nepal.” - Stephanie Fisher

INSPIRED IN NEPAL While I have lived and traveled all over the world, I was unprepared for the beauty and mysticism within the Kingdom of Nepal. I discovered many things; there is more than just summiting Everest, the food is divine and the Nepalese people are truly wonderful. Once thought of as a back-packers paradise and the entry to Everest, Nepal is an incredible destination for yoga, nature, spiritualism and explorations on many levels. Nepal is nestled in the Himalayas between India and China. I was fortunate enough to be invited to Nepal in January by one of our global partners and here I sit, finding myself anxious to plan my a return journey back to “The

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Kingdom”. As a ‘soft’ adventure girl, I thoroughly loved my time hiking in the Annapurna range, which enjoys incredible 360° views of the mountains. Mala Lodge allowed us spectacular vistas of the alpine panorama and left me feeling as if I was actually on ‘top of the world’. The night sky features stars for miles and the beauty of a sunrise is not to be missed either. The hikes throughout the region wound by small villages. One witnesses local children hiking to school and adults working the fields and sweeping their front steps. On one special day the Mothers Trust Group invited us to a lunch prepared in their home. How that simple kitchen

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Nepal, continued created such a delicious lunch will forever bemuse me! In fact, the level of freshness surprised me more with each meal. This is true farm to table cuisine. The flavors of the mo mo dumplings, curries, stir fries and other Nepalese specialties were a delight in both presentation and quality. Venturing away from the mountains, you will be surprised to know that Nepal is where one will find Bengal tiger, leopard, rhino and crocodile - in addition to other amazing wildlife. There are a multitude of jungle safaris to choose from (even some from the back of an elephant!), but my personal favorite was the jeep safari. The safari jeeps on hand at Kasara Resort made the ride quite cozy despite our early morning start times. Hot water bottles, blankets and extra jackets were on hand when necessary, making it the perfect ‘luxe adventure’! One of my favorite experiences during this part of

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the trip was a ride in a dugout canoe through crocodile infested waters. The spectacular sunset only added to the thrill of the moment! After this full day of jungle exploration, Kasara Resort welcomed us back with a fireside meal and a narrated dance performance by a local village school. We danced the night away with these incredible girls! The true highlight of my Nepalese adventure was the spiritual experience of Mustang (pronounced Moostung) in the Kingdom of Lo. This haven sheltered the Dalai Lama while he was in exile for 20 years and access is quite limited. In fact, it is one of the most remote corners of Nepal and remains virtually unchanged since the 15th century. The simple beauty of prayer flags floating in the wind, the winding paths of the people who live within the peaceful, rustic village and the perfectly preserved monasteries enhanced with exquisite Buddhas

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Nepal, continued created a magical day for us. My favorite moment was meditating in a monastery with a young, Buddhist monk. The feeling of energy and focus found within that ancient building (and being told that perhaps I was a Buddhist in a previous life) is one I will never forget. Although we were at high altitude, our limited time on the ground made this entirely possible for anyone! Getting to Mustang has its challenges, but we made it easy by taking a helicopter. This exclusive access took us through valleys and gorges where you watch the landscape change from mountains to farmlands to desert - a jaw-dropping sight to be sure! I hope to someday return to the Caves of Mustang, reputed to be one of the Himalayas’ best secrets. These multi-room caves were carved thousands of years ago and are found over 155 feet up the walls of gorges that dwarf the Grand Canyon. One would need wings to enter the front door. Kathmandu is the entry and exit to beautiful Nepal and there is much to do and experience. Not to be missed is the famous Stupa at Bodhnath, where worshippers are found chanting and meditating with their prayer beads while walking clockwise around the base that is ringed in golden prayer wheels. Another ‘must see’ is Bhaktapur, founded in the 9th century and known for medieval art and architecture, and temples abound with stone carvings. The Pottery Square and Village Art School, which teaches the ancient craft of the Mandala, should also be explored and enjoyed! Also of interest; a little time at Camp Hope, a tented village that was established by the Dwarika Foundation for three villages destroyed by the 2015 earthquake. Within the camp are families of different caste levels, abilities and backgrounds that share a common thread. Loss. In order to live at Camp Hope, you must forget the old ways of the caste system, the former ‘untouchables’ will eat, cook wash and live among those of the former ‘highest level’. I’m pleased to say that this effort appears to be working. The children must learn English and treasure simple gifts of books, paper and pencils as the adults learn new trades. It was inspiring to spend time with the children taking their lessons and practicing English. Their excitement for learning is contagious. This foundation will send students to college and offers everyone access to medical care. Finally, when you are invited to brunch on ‘top of the world’ with your new friend, Mt. Everest, the only answer must be YES. One morning we boarded the helicopter that whisked us to the Kongde Lodge, which has the perfect overlook of Everest and all its glory. The view was incredible, the brunch delicious, and the champagne we enjoyed was the icing on the cake. In a word; unforgettable. If you have never been to Nepal and you crave inspiration, it is time to go and explore this magical and mystical place!

Stephanie Fisher

Luxury Travel Advisor stephanie@huffmantravel.com

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“The people of Nepal are truly wonderful.” - Stephanie Fisher


“We all go through life seeking that ‘one’ destination that will leave you breathless…” - Jeff Hood

THE BRANDO We all go through life seeking out that one destination that will leave you breathless, the one that will check all of your lifetime boxes, the one that will make you feel completely removed from the world, the one that will entice all of your senses, and the one remote island destination that you will long to come back to time and time again. Meet The Brando, Tahiti’s first ‘ultra inclusive resort’ on Tetiaroa. Once a retreat of Tahitian kings and later the private refuge of Marlon Brando, this property is recognized by National Geographic as one of the ‘Unique Lodges of the World’. Just a quick 20-minute jaunt from the resort’s private plane in Papeete, Tahiti and you have arrived to one of most special places on this earth! I was fortunate enough to recently spend three magical nights on this

stunning oasis in French Polynesia. The resort is comprised of 35 villas on this private island and they are sprinkled about for maximum privacy. To say these villas are ‘ultra chic’ would be an understatement. Villas are designed with over the top electronics in your private ‘Media Room’, amazing views from every angle, and massive bathrooms that include an outdoor, enclosed tub! Nothing has been overlooked with these villas. Step out to your private lanai to find your infinity plunge pool and private outdoor living space. It feels like the beach is all yours when you are surrounded by the lush foliage and a most amazing stretch of beach that offers unsurpassed, jaw dropping blue hues of ocean water. A morning snorkel awaits you just outside your


The Brando, continued oasis, simply step outside your villa. Getting around couldn’t be easier; you have a choice of simply jumping on the bikes waiting outside of your door or ringing the concierge who will send a buggy to fetch you! The two dining venues at the property are top notch, thanks to Brando’s amazing French chef and the resort’s own organic gardens and orchards. The menu changes every three months. Note, however, if in the mood for something different, ask and you shall receive. ‘No’ is simply not a word you w i l l h e a r a t Th e Brando. Should you wish to sleep in and be awakened only by the sound of the gentle waves? Not a problem. Breakfast will be delivered to your villa and set up within your outdoor paradise for you to enjoy in complete privacy. Later in the day there are two lounges to tempt you for cocktails. Belly up to Bob’s Bar in the sand for a “Dirty Old Bob”, the Brando’s signature cocktail. They also offer daily cocktail training classes (super fun) and wine tastings. Have children in tow? No worries, there are numerous activities for them. The water sports alone will keep them entertained for days, but note that there are many educational opportunities for them as well. If you’ve ever had an interest in swimming with sea turtles, this is the place to do so November through April! Additional activities include the Tetiaroa ‘Ultimate Tour of the Atoll’ to check out the neighboring islands, going to the “river” for the natural sulphur scrub (amazing!), or searching for the

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elusive coconut crabs. A word of warning: these crabs are large and move quickly, as I soon discovered myself! Yet another way to pass the time is the spa. Gorgeous and almost as large as the resort itself, be sure to check out the Birds Nest Steam Room. I didn’t want to leave, but I eventually did just that to catch my Coconut Oil Massage, which was a dream! The Brando is situated in a place of rare biodiversity and is a natural sanctuary for birds and marine life. The property is dedicated to preserving this s a n c t u a r y. T h e SWAC (Salt Water Air Conditioning) is one of the ways they achieve this. Drawing water from 3,000 feet below the surface at 48° and recycling it through the resort is only one example of t h e r e s o r t ’s s u c c e s s f u l , sustainable tourism efforts. As I write this, there are really not enough words that can express what an experience the Brando gives you. I think it’s best summed up in Marlon Brando’s own words: “Tetiaroa is beautiful beyond my capacity to describe. One could say that Tetiaroa is the tincture of the South Seas.” (Marlon Brando) I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Jeff Hood Luxury Travel Advisor jeff@huffmantravel.com


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Professional Purveyors of Travel

TIPS & TRICKS PACKING & PLANNING FOR….. Adobe stock photography

TAHITI

NEPAL:

Pack light. You will be spending most of your days in a swim suit and cover up.

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Must have a VISA arranged prior to arrival and Mustang is via special permit only.

Bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat the sun is intense!

Bring hair conditioner - it’s not commonly found in the hotels!

Make reservations for popular local experiences well in advance, as they do book up in high season.

Be prepared for limited wi-fi.

Nepalese are willing to take the U.S. dollar, but hit an ATM before you get into the hinterlands, you will not find ATMs and credit cards are not always accepted.

Do talk to the people you meet. Bring small gifts for the children you meet (stickers, toy cars, crayons, etc.). It is very safe to walk and explore. Try something new, it might surprise you!

Staying in an overwater bungalow? Bring your own blow up floats to spend your days floating on the ocean.

If your return flight from Papeete is late at night, book another night at the end of the stay to access your accommodations all day until you leave. Otherwise, a long day awaits!

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OUR

ADVISORS Each issue of Travel Tattler will help you ‘get to know’ two fabulous members of the Huffman Travel team..and what makes them so passionate about travel!

LISA GORDON Sundowners in Zambia with family.

Lisa has been a travel advisor since 1985 and has established an outstanding reputation among her leisure and corporate clients as one of the leading luxury travel advisors in Dayton. Her passion and commitment to outstanding client service is what sets her apart. Just ask any one of Lisa’s clients and they will confirm that no detail is too small for her!

SHELANE NUNNERY Shelane is a Chicagoland native who was bit by the travel bug early on. She has made ‘getting away from it all’ into an art form and she exists to inspire! Her specialties are luxury adventures, Africa, India, and the American West. When working with a client, she enjoys diving into the ‘fine details’ and arranging highly personalized experiences for them during their journey. She has a background in advertising, marketing and corporate events. Her passion for traversing the earth brought her to Huffman Travel. She is a luxury travel advisor and the editor of the Huffman Travel Tattler. Shelane’s personal interests whilst traveling are horseback riding, hiking, writing, photography, spa and shopping. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and her favorite type of travel is transformational and authentic. She finds it impossible to pinpoint a ‘favorite’ travel memory, but one of her most memorable was being married by Buddhist monks in Punakha, Bhutan. The Aman Punakha Lodge arranged for a celebration afterward with local villagers and a monk who foretold the future through Sanskrit readings.

Lisa specializes in corporate travel management and small to large group incentive trips. When she isn’t arranging unforgettable trips for  these groups, she is making sure that these companies’ senior  executives take their families on  ‘memory making’ trips around the world.  Lisa loves to travel and while she’s been all over the world, her true love is to experience the world through food. Lisa recently returned from a trip to Ireland and England where when she wasn’t touring or shopping, she was trying the latest (and some tried and  true) restaurants  — feeding her  ‘foodie passion’. Now a grandmother, Lisa’s passion for educating her grandson  though travel experiences provides yet another creative outlet and motivation for designing trips to remember. When asked about her favorite travel memories, hiking in Killarney, Ireland with views of the lakes came to mind, as did her wonderful spa visits during her stay at the Corinthia Hotel in London!

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Professional Purveyors of Travel

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A SUITE RETREAT AT HOTEL GEORGIA, VANCOUVER! This Forbes 5 Star hotel has been meticulously restored.  Rosewood’s Hotel Georgia combines the grandeur of the Roaring Twenties with contemporary design in the heart of Vancouver, one of our favorite cities! A true ‘urban retreat’. What’s on our radar? A special cruise offer that combines taxi transfers, breakfast for two, $100 hotel credit and an upgrade.What’s more? A 20% savings on Suites throughout 2016.    Now that’s pretty SUITE!

DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THE DOLOMITES’ ROSA ALPINA? We think not! Photos cannot convey the sheer perfection that is Rosa Alpina, the luxe mountain property nestled in Italy’s Dolomite mountains. Picture yourself at the base of some of the world’s most dramatic mountain peaks in this uber stylish boutique lodge. Home to Michelin star chef, Norbert Niederkofler, a member of Relais & Chateaux, and only 124 miles from the Venice airport, this property has ‘rustic elegance’ written all over it. Aside from the unbeatable, breathtaking scenery, our favorite features are the spa, the amazing restaurant and the contempo - rustic private mountain chalets. ‘Roughing it’ has never been so easy! Breakfast is delivered to your chalet via mountain bike. The best part? J.MAK special amenities available exclusively to our clients!

LUXURY ON THE BAY OF ORNOS AT SANTA MARINA While the Bay of Ornos is known for beaches and nightlife, this luxury resort is a haven at the Santa Marina Resort. Soak up the sun at one of the resort’s three pools or the private beach. The Lotus Spa offers an array of experiences that will balance the mind and spirit - including (our favorite) the hammam and Turkish bath! As one of Starwood’s world class brands, The Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, offers travelers a timeless retreat in combination with authentic and unique experiences. In fact, their legendary Buddha Bar is THE place to see and be seen! All that Mykonos has to offer is literally at your fingertips at this sun-drenched escape. H U F F M A N

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Q2 2016 travel tattler (april)  

Boutique, luxury travel agency and a proud member of Virtuoso. We haven't been everywhere, but we sure are trying!

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