The international club for Rolls-Royce & Bentley Owners
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EXQUISITE DESIGN. BESPOKE LIFESTYLE. ENVIABLE ADDRESS. Presenting a peerless haven of oceanfront elegance in Bal Harbour. Premium hotel-condominiums and private Residences, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, are now offered for sale.
DEVELOPED BY AFFILIATES OF STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC. AND THE RELATED GROUP.
ORAL REPRESENTATIONS CANNOT BE RELIED UPON AS CORRECTLY STATING THE REPRESENTATIONS OF THE DEVELOPER. FOR CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS, REFERENCE SHOULD BE MADE TO THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED BY SECTION 718.503, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO BE FURNISHED BY A DEVELOPER TO A BUYER OR LESSEE. CERTAIN UNITS IN THIS CONDOMINIUM ARE SUBJECT TO TIMESHARE ESTATES. OBTAIN THE PROPERTY REPORT REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW AND READ IT BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING. NO FEDERAL AGENCY HAS JUDGED THE MERITS OR VALUE, IF ANY, OF THIS PROPERTY. THIS OFFERING IS MADE ONLY BY THE PROSPECTUS FOR THE CONDOMINIUM AND NO STATEMENT SHOULD BE RELIED UPON IF NOT MADE IN THE PROSPECTUS. THIS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL OR SOLICITATION OF OFFERS TO BUY THE CONDOMINIUM UNITS IN STATES WHERE SUCH OFFER OR SOLICITATION CANNOT BE MADE. PRICES, FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. NOT AN OFFERING WHERE PROHIBITED BY STATE LAW. WE ARE PLEDGED TO THE LETTER AND SPIRIT OF U.S. POLICY FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY THROUGHOUT THE NATION. WE ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT AN AFFIRMATIVE ADVERTISING AND MARKETING PROGRAM IN WHICH THERE ARE NO BARRIERS TO OBTAINING HOUSING BECAUSE OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, HANDICAP, FAMILIAL STATUS, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN. THE DEVELOPER’S USE OF THE ST. REGIS® TRADE NAME AND TRADEMARKS IS PURSUANT TO A LICENSE FROM THE SHERATON LLC.
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ARTIST’S RENDERING, FINISHED PRODUCT MAY VARY.
9 7 0 1 C O L L I N S AV E N U E , B A L H A R B O U R , F L O R I D A 3 3 1 5 4 TELEPHONE: 888.796.1579 | STREGISRESIDENCES.COM / BALHARBOUR
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THE FINEST REAL ESTATE IN THE FINEST PLACES ON EARTH
HOKULI’A, KONA, HAWAII
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Amenities are proposed and are subject to change. This is not an offer or solicitation to sell in states in which this property is not yet registered.
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VisionRock, LLC ÂŠ2007 Vision Producers, Inc.
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At River Rock, every home has more than 150 million square feet of living space. In addition to beautifully designed homes, living space at River Rock includes miles of river for fly fishing, a lakefront marina, extensive equestrian center, indoor/outdoor tennis facility, miles of hiking trails and two fabulous golf courses, including a prestigious 18-hole championship course designed by Phil Mickelson. In fact, your toughest decision is going to be picking which amenities you want closest to your new home. All of this is just a short drive from Asheville, 2 hours from Charlotte and less than 3 hours from Atlanta.
This Spring is very likely our last preconstruction offering, and only 40 home sites will be released. If you are interested in learning more about this luxury mountain community, please contact us at 888-743-2975 immediately. If youâ€™d like a personal tour to view it for yourself, ask about our Weekend Mountain Getaway at the renowned Old Edwards Inn for only $199. How do you want to live this life? $100 Million Amenity Package â€˘ Homesites from the $300s to $1.5 Million Highlands-Cashiers, NC 888.743.2975 www.riverrocknc.com
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This does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, an invitation to visit a location, attend a sales presentation, or contact a sales agent, in any jurisdiction where such activity requires registration in such jurisdiction. As to residents of any such jurisdiction, any sales of the product must take place in the United States of Mexico, and the federal laws of Mexico shall apply to any sales contracts or offers. California residents: warning: the California department of real estate has not examined this offering, including, but not limited to, the condition of title, the status of blanket liens on the project (if any), arrangements to assure project completion, escrow practices, control over project management, racially discriminatory practices (if any), terms, conditions, and price of the offer, control over annual assessments (if any), or the availability of water, services, utilities, or improvements. It may be advisable for you to consult an attorney or other knowledgeable professional who is familiar with real estate and development law in the country where the project is situated. Owner reserves the right to substitute building materials, finishing details, and appliances of equal or greater value and may alter plans and make other modifications as deemed necessary. All renderings are artistâ€™s concepts. Buyers must not rely on oral representations and shall refer to legal documents for verifications. Any and all pricing given is subject to change without notice. All renderings are conceptual and subject to change. Furniture for positioning purposes only.
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LA AMADA IN PLAYA MUJERES, MEXICO
La Amada is conceived as the heart of a new Cancun resort development. This freestanding beachfront community includes an inland marina, two Greg Norman signature golf courses, a destination wellness center and spa, luxury residences, gourmet restaurants, elegant shopping, and a boutique hotel. La Amada has been carefully planned as a low-density Caribbean village complete with all the services and amenities of contemporary luxury living. La Amada opens in 2007; please visit www.laamada.com for more information.
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POSSESS YOUR OWN soho
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Introducing a Special Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club Travel Guide Dear Member, In 1998, RROC entered into a cooperative agreement with Faircount LLC, publishers of the Annual RROC Desk Diary. Since that time, Faircount has produced 10 outstanding publications, featuring many stories on activities at Crewe, Chichester, and “the finer things” – and all at no cost to club members. As a result of the overwhelming positive response from our membership, Faircount is delighted to be able to extend that relationship to include the publication of this Luxury Travel Guide. One of the primary purposes of our club is to encourage the use of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars. As a club we do that in so many ways … including the scheduling of National Driving Tours, the Judging Requirement that Award Winning Cars be driven, and the publication and distribution of articles on how to repair and maintain our cars. This magazine focuses on travel and on the FUN and the LUXURY of touring. As owners and enthusiasts, all of us appreciate the heritage and history of our cars and realize that the element of the motoring lifestyle that is most closely associated with Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars is touring. In the pages of this special issue, you’ll discover the difference a private charter can make to a Caribbean getaway; the exceptional service to be found in flying on various Asian airlines; the opportunity to play vintner in California’s Sonoma Wine Country; the excitement of the famed Mille Miglia road race in Brescia, Italy; and, of course, interesting spots around the globe to tour with your Rolls-Royce or Bentley. You’ll also find reviews of some of the most luxurious hotels as well as fine dining locales the world has to offer. Articles on luxury travel consultants and travel insurance provide tips for planning safe and memorable journeys. In addition, we have included an article on touring Tidewater Virginia in a Rolls-Royce Corniche II, as well as stories on driving a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud across the impressive Millau Viaduct in France and a Bentley Turbo R on Germany’s famed Nürburgring. We hope that this magazine will (at the very least) provide some interesting reading and perhaps inspire some unforgettable travel experiences – perhaps behind the wheel of your Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Sincerely,
Robin A. James President
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Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines
9 Robin A. James, President, Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club
Eight Wonders of the Modern Hotel World By Hilary Armstrong
The World’s Top Tables Five world-class one-offs By Joe Warwick 42
TRANSPORT 34 All Hail the Queen The Queen Mary 2 offers incomparable transatlantic voyages By Laura Spinale 42 Flying by the Stars Exceptional service and luxury on Asian airlines By Claudia Jannone 52 Cruising the Caribbean Chart a course for relaxation as you board a luxury yacht bound for paradise By Tara N. Wilfong
Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
66 An Interview with Donald Trump “The Donald” shares his thoughts on success, his latest projects, and his favorite getaways By Iwalani Kahikina and Michael J. Tully 70 Seacoast Siesta Mexico’s sunny shores offer a plethora of vacation possibilities By Edie Jarolim 82
Several Hundred Feet Down Under Exploring Cairns, Australia By Julie Sturgeon 82
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Own a Slice of Ideal Vacation Fractional ownership of luxury vacation residences By Vera Marie Badertscher
From Connoisseur to Viticulteur Club Kenwood opens the door to serious Sonoma winemaking for the rest of us By Craig Collins
126 Crossing the Void Millau Viaduct: More than a bridge By Zac Assemakis Magical, Mythical England Faith and legend abound in the British countryside By Laura Spinale
Motoring Through 400 Years History comes alive in Virginia’s Tidewater region By Philip C. Brooks
146 Explosive Personality Majestic beauty balances volcanic surroundings for Ecuador’s capital By David A. Brown
Photo courtesy of APVA Preservation Virginia
Photo by Jan Tegler
The Red Arrow R ace An Italian rite of spring By Jan Tegler
Photo courtesy of the Kenwood Inn and Spa
162 Ring of Fear Driving Germany’s Nürburgring By Zac Assemakis 164 Enjoy the Enchantment of Carmel- by-the -Sea By Michael A. Robinson
TRAVELERS’ RESOURCES 176 Travel Agents vs. Luxury Consultants Traveling in style takes planning in style By Andrea Rademan 184 Travel Safe A guide to purchasing travel insurance By Carol Oldham O’Hara
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The Bentley Brooklands
Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors Limited
In March 2007, Bentley Motors introduced its stunning new Bentley Brooklands grand touring coupé. The Brooklands features Bentley’s most powerful V8 engine yet – a 530 bhp, twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter engine capable of producing 1,050 Nm of torque. The impressive combination of classic, luxurious styling and powerful performance that is the hand-assembled, four-seat Brooklands will be limited to a lifetime production run of just 550 cars, with deliveries estimated to begin in the first half of 2008. “Bentley’s proud sporting pedigree, forged by the exploits of the immortal ‘Bentley Boys’ on the famous Brooklands racetrack in the 1920s, was the inspiration for our new coupé, capturing all the style, power and splendor of that era,” says Bentley chairman Dr. FranzJosef Paefgen. Brooklands, the site of some of Bentley’s greatest racing achievements, is often called the birthplace of British motor racing; it celebrates its centennial anniversary this year.
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LuxuryTravelGuide The international club for Rolls-Royce & Bentley Owners
Publishers Ross W. Jobson and Peter M. Antell North American Headquarters 701 North West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609 Tel. (813) 639-1900 Fax (813) 639-4344 European Headquarters 5 Ella Mews, Hampstead, London NW3 2NH UK Tel. 44 (0) 207-428-7000 Fax 44 (0) 207-284-2118
Editorial Director Charles Oldham email@example.com Consulting Editor Philip C. Brooks Editors Ed Lammon Ana E. Lopez Assistant Editors Iwalani Kahikina Michael J. Tully Art Director Robin K. McDowall Project Designer Lorena Noya Design & Production Rebecca Laborde Daniel Mrgan Lorena Noya Production Assistant Kenia Y. Perez Assistant to the Publisher Alexis Vars Writers Hilary Armstrong Zac Assemakis Vera Marie Badertscher Philip C. Brooks David A. Brown Craig Collins Claudia Jannone Edie Jarolim Carol Oldham O’Hara Andrea Rademan Michael A. Robinson Laura Spinale Julie Sturgeon Jan Tegler Joe Warwick Tara N. Wilfong
General Manager Lawrence Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant General Manager Robin Jobson email@example.com Business Development & Project Support David Sanis firstname.lastname@example.org Project Manager Peter Lewis email@example.com Advertising Account Executives Allen Coates Annette Dragon Sophia Leich Jonathan Rosenfeld Controller Robert John Thorne firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Information Systems John Madden Administrative Assistant Heidi Reis Printing and Origination St. Ives
Special thanks: Bill Casey Tim Younes
©Copyright Faircount LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Neither Faircount LLC, nor Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club, Inc., assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without expressed written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. The 2007 International Club for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Owners Luxury Travel Guide does not imply endorsement by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Ltd., or Bentley Motors Ltd. Printed in the United States of America.
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Ginn ResortsSM Founder Bobby Ginn has a vision for one of the grandest resort destinations in North America. This vision combines the excitement of Monte Carlo, the grandeur of the French Riviera, the soul of the islands and the casually elegant lifestyle perfected by Ginn. With a private airport, mega-yacht marina, Signature golf courses from Nicklaus and Palmer, a Monte Carlo-style casino, miles of Bahamian beaches and a grand canal winding throughout the entire property, Ginn sur MerSM will be a whole new world. And you can be a part of it through ownership of an oceanfront, golf view or deep water homesite. Begin your journey to this new world today by visiting GINNSURMER .COM or by calling 877-820-0500. ARTIST ’S RENDERING
GOLF VIEW, DEEP WATER AND OCEANFRONT HOMESITES PRICED FROM $600,000 TO $1.4 MILLION+
GINNSURMER.COM/RRT 877-820-0500 Obtain the Property Report required by Federal Law and read it before signing anything. No federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. Prices, plans, artist's renderings, photos, land uses, dimensions, specifications, improvements, materials, amenities and availability are subject to change without notice. Ownership of a residence at the Development does not grant the use of or access to any golf course or other recreational facilities (“The Club”) to be located at the Development, and membership in the Club will be subject to payment of dues, rules and availability. Use of amenities is subject to Membership requirements. This is not an offering of real property or condominium units and offers may only be made at the Discovery Center for the Development. This is NOT an offering of real property or condominium units within the State of New York. Void where prohibited by law or where there are other qualifications to advertising real property. Ginn Real Estate Company, LLC, Licensed Real Estate Broker. 2/07
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Eight wonders of the modern hotel world By Hilary Armstrong
Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE Dubai, the commercial center of the United Arab Emirates, is a place of extremes. It may be best known for its opulent hotels, beaches, and designer shopping, but it has so much more. For me it means snow – yes, snow. Year-round sun may be central to Dubai’s appeal for most visitors, but when I was looking for a holiday with a difference, the concierge at the hotel Burj Al Arab recommended Ski Dubai – the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort. There’s real snow all year, with ski and snowboard lessons available to all.
After an alpine-themed day, returning to the beachside hotel for some well-deserved R&R can feel surreal, but the Burj Al Arab is spectacularly well placed for it. Situated on a man-made island, linked to the shore by a causeway, the hotel dominates the landscape, looking like a huge sailing boat on the water. If the ski slopes were disorientating, the reception at Burj Al Arab is reassuringly Arabian. Before you’ve even checked in you’re shown to a comfortable chair and provided with a fruit cocktail and dates; the aroma of incense fills the air as you casually fill in the necessary forms. It’s an all-suite hotel, with the best being the Royal Suite at 50,000 AED ($13,613) per night. It boasts a private elevator, cinema, and a rotating four-post bed. Even the entry-level suite (the deluxe suite) is impressive – at some 170 square meters for 7,500 AED ($2,042). Butler service is included along with high-tech office and leisure facilities, floor-to-ceiling windows, and opulent furnishings – but these are all basics. Burj Al Arab’s speciality is taking luxury to another level, so if you want to be pampered, there’s in-suite dining, Hermes products in every bathroom, a pillow menu, and even a bath menu. It’s even luxurious to leave the hotel. A chauffeur will take you out in one of the fleet of 16 Rolls-Royces, which includes eight Silver Seraphs, two Park Wards, and six Phantoms. If ground level is too pedestrian, charter the luxury helicopter for a bird’s-eye view of the white beaches and blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. You could even charter a yacht, but why settle for that when you can top it with a three-minute
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submarine ride – albeit a simulated one – that takes you to the hotel’s celebrated seafood restaurant, Al Mahara? Burj Al Arab, P.O. Box 74147, Dubai, UAE, +971 4 3017777, www.burj-al-arab.com
Emirates Palace hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE Despite being the largest of the Emirates and the financial and federal capital of the region, Abu Dhabi has at times appeared to exist in Dubai’s shadow. But it’s all change in Abu Dhabi these days. The white, sandy beaches, endless sunshine, and sparkling blue waters are still here, but new attractions abound – the ultra-luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel, the Marina Mall extension, and über-architect Frank Gehry’s planned Guggenheim outpost have turned all eyes toward Abu Dhabi. A key attraction is shopping. The city’s reputation as a world-beating shopping hub is such that it even has an annual shopping festival, but spending is always great here – it’s not just the joy of flexing plastic at state-of-theart malls, it’s also the art of haggling at the souk. I made a beeline for the gold souk at Madinat Zayed where “negotiation” can be very lively. Bargaining is expected, so brace yourself for a shocking starting price; from there it’s up to you to finagle a good deal. The price of gold is set daily, so check the prices in the paper to feel like a pro. Gold is available in 18, 22, and 24 carats, as are kilogram bars and gold bullion. Feel the
weight of what you’re buying; anything made and sold here will be solid, not the lightweight stuff we settle for elsewhere. I came away with two necklaces, one more than planned, but with a final price under half of the original price, I left happy. The souks are a great place to sample the region’s traditional culture. Remnants of the city’s life as a fishing village just 50 years ago remain, so take it all in while having a shisha or an Arab coffee. After the souks, calmness prevails at the Abu Dhabi and Marina Malls, where Western brands are on offer at super-low, tax-free prices. Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari are good spots for luxury gifts, but souk-style haggling is a definite no-no here. Since 2005, there has only really been one address for the jet set – the Kempinski Emirates Palace. Apart from being one of the most luxurious hotels imaginable, it’s also an impressive architectural colossus and destination in its own right. Standing on a stretch of white, sandy beach, the hotel is 1 kilometer long and 2.5 kilometers around. It is set amid 1 million square meters of landscaped gardens, so take up the offer of a map when you arrive – I learned this the hard way. The building incorporates traditional Arabian design, with a grand silver and gold mosaic dome in its center and a color palette based on shades of sand from the Arabian desert. Inside, rooms glisten with fine gold leaf and some 19
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INSPIRED BY THE LEGEND ARIZONA BILTMORE RESORT & SPA
GRAND WAILEA RESORT HOTEL & SPA 1 800 WALDORF
LA QUINTA RESORT & CLUB
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1,002 Swarovski crystal chandeliers. It’s not just pretty, it also has practical amenities such as a helipad, two pools, and the latest business and conferencing technology. The finest rooms are the gold leaf- and marble-decorated Palace Suites (costing nearly $14,000 a night), each complete with a living room, dining room, and three bedrooms. Every bedroom enjoys a 61-inch plasma screen and a sea view. It’s entirely in keeping with the palatial pile that the service and facilities should be fit for a king: a fleet of white Rolls-Royces to take you shopping; a caviar bar serves the finest Iranian caviar; and a gentleman’s clubstyle bar specializes in Havana cigars and cognac. The jewel in the crown, however, is Sayad Restaurant, where fresh seafood (flown in daily from all over the world) is a speciality. There’s no menu – your wish is the chef’s command, so in effect you have a private chef. This is exquisite haute cuisine served with charm. After a day at the souks it’s the perfect way to relax. The Emirates Palace, P.O. Box 39999 Abu Dhabi Corniche, Abu Dhabi, UAE, +971 2 690 9000, www.emiratespalace.com
Four Seasons New York, USA In a city like New York that’s so famed for its grand luxury hotels, it can be hard to choose a favorite. All of the grand hotels have good views of the skyline or Central Park, and so many have good locations, good restaurants, and good martinis. But the discerning traveler doesn’t need to settle for “good” in New York, and this traveler will only accept the best.
of perfection to expect. Robuchon is, after all, the chef who was dubbed “Chef of the Century” by his peers. The idea behind L’Atelier is to order a range of smaller tasting plates, almost tapas style. I tried Smoked Foie Gras with Caramelised Eel, Osetra Caviar over Capellini, and Bluefin Tuna with Tomato-Infused Olive Oil. But I was bowled over, like so many before me, by the chef’s famous, super-rich truffled pommes purée. The restaurant also offers guests the rare opportunity to sit at the counter of an open kitchen to see chefs preparing every dish. It’s typical of the Four Seasons New York that it should introduce such an exciting and cutting-edge chef; the hotel is already renowned for forward thinking. The building was designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei in 1993, and its iconic 52-stories, between Park and Madison, are a must-see on any architectural tour of the Big Apple. To get a proper feel for Pei’s style, you ought to take one of the two Presidential Suites on the 51st floor. It’s a toss-up as to which is preferable. Suite 5101’s got great views of the city and Central Park, a semi-precious-stone-topped cabinet, and a leather-paneled library, but 5102’s baby grand piano is hard to top. Each suite costs $1,500 per night and both have a private elevator, a furnished balcony, a plasma TV in the marble bathroom, and original oil paintings. Four Seasons Hotel New York, 57 East 57th Street, New York, USA, +1 (212) 758 5700, www.fourseasons. com/newyorkfs
So it’s great news that the Four Seasons Hotel New York has brought in the best, yet again. After its 2005 purchase of a brand-new Rolls-Royce Phantom as the house car for guests, it has kept on upping the ante – this year introducing a fresh new restaurant concept to Manhattan. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon brings the best of Paris to New York in the form of culinary superstar Robuchon. If you know L’Atelier’s other branches, you’ll know the level
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Taj Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur, India Magnificent forts, temples, and palaces abound in Rajasthan, India’s “Land of the Kings,” meaning most visitors would find it difficult to single one out as the most memorable. After a stay at the Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, my choice was made for me. None can be more magical than the bright white wedding cake of a palace that has a four-acre island in Lake Pichola all to itself. By day it gleams as if floating on the lake; after dark it’s a striking, lit vision shining in the night sky. Small wonder it has been listed in the 2004 New York Times best seller, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Mewar ruler Maharana Jagat Singh II could almost have had the modern five-star traveler in mind when he built the white marble summer palace back in 1746. Architecturally it’s spectacular, with huge windows affording every guest a view of the shimmering lake, Aravalli Mountains, and lofty lakeside palaces. As much as the Lake Palace Hotel is defined by the glorious landscape outside, it’s also steeped with history within. The “royal butlers” are charged with the task of treating each guest like royalty; many are descendants of the palace’s original retainers. From the first footstep you take on the island, they make the fantasy of being one of the Maharaja’s favored guests seem a reality. To approximate it further, I can recommend booking the hotel spa’s signature treatment, the Mewar Khas, a speciality of the Mewar region and a pre-bathing ritual practiced by royalty in preparation for their wedding day. It includes a footbath ritual using a scrub made of sandalwood and mild turmeric mixed with auspicious grains and signature oils.
Staying in the rooms is like stepping back in time. The Grand Royal Suites are the finest. Each boasts crystal chandeliers, private balconies, and ornate swings called jhoolas. If possible, go for the Sajjan Niwas Suite, completed in 1884. It opens out onto the private Sajjan terrace and is decorated with frescoes of Krishna, inlaid marble, mirror work, and brocade fans. My butler arranged for a feast to be laid out in the suite to offer me a taste of some classic Rajasthani dishes, like laal maans, a fiery lamb dish spiced with chilies and prepared in the hotel’s restaurant, Neel Kamal. They can also arrange an elephant or camel ride in the countryside, a sunset sail in a 150-year-old ceremonial barge, or simply a cool drink to be enjoyed on the terrace in the end of the day. Taj Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Udaipur 313 001, Rajasthan, India, +91 294 252 8800, www.tajhotels.com
Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand Queenstown often comes at the tail end of a New Zealand itinerary, after a few weeks wending one’s way down the North and South Islands, taking in perhaps some whale watching, Abel Tasman National Park, and the wine country. But it’s actually somewhat at odds with the city’s reputation, as the adventure capital of the world and the birthplace of bungee jumping, that so many visitors to New Zealand choose this quaint Gold Rush town as the place to relax and unwind. Eichardt’s raison d’être is cosseting the worn-out traveler, and its staff have a sixth sense for their guests’ competing urges to sleep and jump off a bridge on a long
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piece of elastic. Adrenaline junkies need a breather too, sometimes. The hotel occupies a great spot on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, commanding views over the clear water as far as the Remarkables mountain range. It’s also just a five-minute walk away from the heart of Queenstown’s buzzing restaurant and bar quarter. There are just five suites, so there will only ever be you and nine others – the title “Private Hotel” is indeed fitting. No single suite is said to be better than the others, but I must confess to feeling rather smug when I snagged the NZ$1,595 ($1,050) a night Suite No.1 – the only one with a lakeside view and a balcony. General Manager Victoria Shaw’s goal is to bring all the charm of New Zealand to each guest, even when you’re sequestered indoors. You can stay in and discover the best of the Central Otago wine region, care of a bottle of Gibbston Valley Reserve Pinot Noir from the cellar at NZ$185; try some local whitebait, bluff oysters, or in-season game from the hotel kitchen; or you can pop down to the boutique on the ground floor and pick up the latest creations from Kiwi designers like Karen Walker and Zambezi. To see the best of Queenstown, of course, you will have to wrench yourself away from Eichardt’s at some point. The concierge can arrange any activity for you, from boat rides to golf, bungee jumping, or skiing, depending on the season. For those who want to take it easy but see it all, take the hotel’s suggestion of a luxury helicopter trip to Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most incredible area of natural beauty. A tuxedo-clad pilot will speed you on a breathtaking journey over mountains and fjords before landing on a glacier to gather ice with which to chill champagne. Finish with a gourmet lunch in an old goldminer’s cottage in the hills before returning to the comfort of the hotel. Continued on page 25
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Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Marine Parade, P.O. Box 1340, Queenstown, New Zealand, +64 3441 0450, www. eichardts.co.nz
Hotel Schloss Fuschl, Hof bei Salzburg, AUSTRIA It’s hard to think of a bad word to say about Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. The worst I can manage is to note that at the height of the summer tourist season, during the annual classical music festival, it can be a little crowded. But that’s easily remedied. At the Hotel Schloss Fuschl in Hof, you can get away from it all. The picture-perfect chateau is just 20 minutes away from city life, yet feels a world away up in the fresh alpine air, overlooking the clear waters of Lake Fuschl. This awe-inspiring castle, built originally as a hunting lodge over 500 years ago, has always been a popular Austrian retreat with the great, the good, and the not so good. Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher, and Adolf Hitler have all famously stayed here. More recently, however, the hotel has entered a new era thanks to an extensive and expensive refurbishment that was completed in summer 2006. The suites have been restored to their former glory. German-speaking guests snap up the Sissi Suite, named after the perennially popular series of movies about the wife of emperor Franz Josef, Kaiserin Elisabeth, aka “Sissi.” The films, starring Romy Schneider, were made at the Schloss in the 1950s. An even better choice is the Mozart Suite, one of seven suites in the castle’s tower. From 2,235 euros ($2,800) per night you can have a three-bedroom room with a kitchen, Old Masters’ paintings, a grand piano, and a butler-cum-chauffeur. For romance, Salzburg’s horse-drawn carriages are nice, but the Schloss Fuschl tops that by offering guests the use of a covetable collection of rare vintage cars, including a 1961 Silver Cloud II and a 1955 Silver Wraith.
A trip in one of these remarkable cars, rolling through the lush pasture of the Salzkammergut region, will take years off you, but for further rejuvenation, try the hotel’s Restaurant Imperial. Chef Thomas M. Walkensteiner literally wrote the book on anti-aging cuisine. The menus, starting at 95 euros ($120) a head, include Breton Lobster Chartreuse with Buttermilk and Imperial Caviar and Fillet of Organic Salzburg Veal with Lovage. The castle’s excellent cellar has the most sought-after Austrian wines, the restorative powers of which are not to be underestimated. Hotel Schloss Fuschl, Schloss-Strasse 19, 5322 Hof bei Salzburg, Austria, +43 6229 2253-0, www.schlossfuschl.at
The Ritz Hotel, London, England Was there ever a time when a hotel could set standards merely by having double-glazing and walk-in wardrobes? Apparently so. It was back in 1906, when legendary hotelier César Ritz opened The Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly and made it the talk of the town. Even now, after more than 100 years, the legendary hotel remains at the vanguard. The Ritz wows with its ability to be both old-fashioned and elegant, yet simultaneously cutting-edge. Take a spin in the hotel’s brand new centenary year Rolls-Royce Phantom and see for yourself. It’s decked out in signature Ritz
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blue, with an RTZ 100 number plate, crested handles, leather interior, and walnut burr trimmings – but then there’s the latest satellite-navigation technology and DVD screens. Over the last decade, the hotel has had £50million spent on it, and the ability to surprise remains. Behind the imposing chateau-style frontage and the Royal Warrant, you get it all, from the latest business services to Indian head massages. But the old treats are still the best; those that seduced Chaplin, the Aga Khan, and Noel Coward. Tea in the Palm Court is an institution without compare. Its perfect cucumber sandwiches, thick clotted cream, and perfectly brewed teas are legendary. For formal dining, the restaurant offers fine wines and chef John Williams’ exquisite “Palace style cooking,” served against an amazingly decadent backdrop. And the legendary weekend dinner dances are as popular as ever. Sumptuous elegance defines the suites too, with Louis XVI styling, deep carpets, and antique paintings. Around £2,000 ($3,750) per night will pay for the ultimate in Ritz comfort: the palatial Berkeley Suite, with its marble lobby, panoramic views, a dining table for 10, and all the latest in-room technology. There’s still nothing in London to beat the Ritz for luxury and service. The Ritz Hotel, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR, +44 (0)20 7493 8181, www.theritzlondon.com
The Peninsula, Hong Kong, CHINA There are few accolades that Hong Kong’s oldest hotel, The Peninsula, hasn’t won. It has been recognized for its Philippe Starck-designed restaurant, Felix, and for its brand new ESPA spa.
Since The Peninsula was founded in 1928, it has always been destined for dizzy heights. The addition of the stateof-the-art Peninsula Tower in 1994 has ensured that the hotel continues to go one better than the competition, even through changing times in this ultra-modern, hightech city. You can get a taste of that in the 28th-floor, space-age Felix restaurant. The views are incredible, as is the fusion food featuring such dishes as Miso-Yaki Cod Fillet. The Peninsula Suite on the 26th floor ($5,880) per night affords spectacular views from its private balcony, but the full charms of this historic building are found in the Garden Suite. $4,600 gets you a vast two-bedroom garden terrace on the seventh floor, featuring an outdoor jacuzzi and a fully retractable roof. The ongoing blend of old and new, coupled with a seamless fusion of East and West, has maintained The Peninsula’s reputation as an institution with residents and visitors alike. The thrills of the world’s most exciting city are evident, but you’re also just minutes from old Hong Kong. Up on the roof, though, it’s all mod cons. Here you can find the only hotel helipad in Hong Kong – from which it’s only eight minutes to Hong Kong International Airport. For other journeys, the Peninsula’s fleet of 14 chauffeur-driven RollsRoyce limousines is the only option. The 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II is the pick of the bunch – one of only two made that year with that body. The other also belongs to the hotel group and will grace the brand new Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo when that opens in the autumn of 2007. The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2920 2888, www.hongkong.peninsula.com 27
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Photo: John Kelly, The Little Nell Snowmass Kitchen/Living Area
YESTERDAY. TODAY. FOREVER.
WHERE MEMORIES ARE CREATED The legend and mystique of The Little Nell Aspen name lives on with the arrival of The Little Nell Residences at Snowmass. Inspired by the past and reinvented for the future. A rare collection of ski-in-ski-out residences now available for sale. Management by The Little Nell, Aspenâ€™s only Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond recognized hotel.
For sales information please call 97o 923 o742 or visit The Related WestPac Sales & Design Gallery 54B Snowmass Mall Snowmass Village, CO 81615 snowmassliving.com
This is not an offering or solicitation in any jurisdiction where prohibited by law or where prior registration has not been obtained and is required. Developer uses The Little Nell Residences Snowmass trademark in connection with the development, marketing and sale of the project pursuant to a private agreement with the owner of such trademark.
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Five World-Class one-offs
The world’s top tables
By Joe Warwick
Le Quartier Français (South Africa) With the Franschhoek mountains playing amphitheatre, this restaurant, set in an auberge in the heart of the Cape Winelands, has a setting that would overshadow the cooking of many chefs. But not Dutch-born Margot Janse, whose individually-tailored tasting menus make the most of the region’s rich larder of game (impala, warthog, springbok), fish, and market vegetables. Then there’s the wine list, understandably heavy with rich local bottles, the best of which you won’t find anywhere but South Africa. www.lequartier.co.za
Gambero Rosso (Italy) Fulvio Pierangelini is the perfect antidote for those who are tired of jet-setting chefs with a multitude of restaurants across the world: He’s scared of flying, and if he’s not behind the stove in his restaurant, it closes for the day. Widely regarded in Italian gastronomic circles as the most creative chef cooking in the country today, his 30-seat restaurant in the small Tuscan harbor town of San Vincenzo, which overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea, is unassuming and perfectly formed. With fish-focused menus that champion simplicity (typified by his trademark dish of chickpea purée with prawns), Pierangelini’s cooking concentrates on the purity of fastidiously sourced ingredients and the flavors that he is able to muster from them. No Web site. Gambero Rosso, Piazza della Vittoria 13, 57027 San Vincenzo, Livorno, Italy. +39 (0)565 701 021 29
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El Bulli (Spain) El Bulli is perhaps the most oversubscribed restaurant in the world at the moment. Open from the middle of April to mid-September only, there is just a short period of time to sample its delights. This gastronomic institution, hidden on the Catalan coast, is where chef Ferran Adrià expresses his envelope-pushing culinary bent with multi-coursed tasting menus (developed during the six months that the restaurant is closed) where nothing is what it seems. Add to that the setting, service, and wine list, and it’s very easy to see why El Bulli topped The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2006. www. elbulli.com
The Fat Duck (UK) Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, in the village of Bray in Berkshire county, has grown into a legendary foodie destination in its own right. After Blumenthal was inspired by the food at Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli, he transformed a once straightforward French bistro in a converted pub into one of the most forward-thinking restaurants in the world. Blumenthal’s dishes often mess with your mind and play with your palate through sensory experimentation and embracing unexpected textures and tastes. A healthy dose of nostalgia for childhood flavors is evident, and it’s all served with a playful touch of the theatrical. www.fatduck.co.uk
Noma (Denmark) Situated in the Christianshavn district of Copenhagen on a quay in what was once a bonded warehouse for whale blubber and sea salt, Noma is at the forefront of “New Nordic Cuisine.” Since opening in 2003, head chef and co-owner René Redzepi has earned a reputation for his modern take on classic Danish and Nordic flavors, in dishes such as Musk Ox served two ways, Onions from Læsø, Ramson Garlic Capers, and Browned Butter. His is one of the most beautifully designed restaurants you will ever set foot in, albeit in a very cool, detached, Nordic way. www.noma.dk 31
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Get what you reserved. What a novel idea. Only Hertz lets you reserve the specific make and model. Like the Audi Q7. With the Hertz Prestige Collection, you can reserve the specific make and model luxury car of your choice. From stylish convertibles like the Audi A4 Cabriolet to powerful SUV’s like the Audi Q7. And if it’s unmatched luxury you crave, try the Audi A6 quattro. What’s more, all Prestige Collection vehicles are equipped with NeverLost ®, Hertz’ in-car satellite navigation system, so you’ll always have peace of mind. To reserve a Prestige Collection vehicle available at select major market locations in the U.S. and Canada, call your travel agent, the Hertz Prestige Collection reservation line at 1-800-654-2250, or visit hertz.com. At Hertz, a perk of being prestigious is getting what you want. It’s another reason why We’re Hertz. They’re Not.
® Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. © 2007 Hertz System, Inc.
“Audi” and the four rings emblem are registered trademarks of AUDI AG. Not all vehicles available in all locations.
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All Hail the Queen The Queen Mary 2 offers incomparable transatlantic voyages
All photos courtesy of Cunard image library
By laura spinale
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her maiden sail, from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, the Queen Mary 2 was the largest passenger ship ever constructed.
Opposite: Drawing attention from the storied Manhattan skyline, the QM2 departs New York City. Above, from left to right: High-end boutiques such as luxury watch and jewelry manufacturer Chopard await you at the QM2’s glitzy Mayfair Shops. Marvel and wonder at the infinite ocean as you work on your tan poolside. Regularly filled with the sounds of masterful musicians, the elegantly appointed Grand Lobby is a popular meeting point during cruises. Too much pampering and relaxing? Elevate your heart rate and release your inhibitions at the G32 nightclub.
Weighing 148,528 tons with a length of 1,132 feet, she is more than twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall. Guests take their repasts in 15 restaurants and bars, and splash in five swimming pools. They spend their evenings at formal-dress balls, gaming in a casino, or stargazing – either outdoors or in the only full planetarium at sea. Shopping is not for penny pinchers. Ship’s stores carry labels by designers such as Hermes, H. Stern, and Swarovski. The cost of this luxury? A duplex suite on an 80-day world cruise can cost as much as half a million dollars. By contrast, a standard inside cabin – the least expensive on the QM2 – can cost as little as $1,400 per person for a New York-Southampton voyage. If you think all this transatlantic excess sounds vaguely familiar, you’re right. The QM2 is, in fact, brought to you by the good folks who were first to offer transatlantic passenger service. The Cunard Line has been in operation since 1840. (It is now a division of the Carnival Corporation, known for its Carnival Cruise Lines.) Its specialty has always been the construction and operation of transatlantic liners. The QM2’s most recent predecessors as Cunard flagships have been the Queen Elizabeth 2 (still in operation), the Queen Elizabeth, and the original Queen Mary, now morphed into a hotel and docked in Long Beach, California. Over the decades, the Cunard Line has garnered a reputation as the standard-bearer of luxury travel. The 35
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Top, from left to right: With notable speakers such as Monty Python’s John Cleese, the 1,015seat Royal Court Theater is a great place for laughter or enlightenment – or sometimes both. The ship’s Illuminations Planetarium is billed as the only full-scale planetarium at sea. It offers a variety of constellation shows and also doubles as a movie theater and lecture hall. Below: Re-creating the experience of a Broadway theater, a variety of productions, classic and modern, will impress even hardened theatergoers.
QM2 ship harkens – in name and attitude – to the glory days of the original Queen Mary. In operation from 1936-1967, the Queen Mary frequently hosted luminaries such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe. In part because of its glamorous air, people tend to think of a mere sighting of the QM2 as an event. Press reports of her comings and goings tend to employ rather breathless prose. For example, when the QM2 left San Francisco, that city’s Chronicle wrote, in part: “With a mighty blast of her queenly horn, the grand ocean liner Queen Mary 2 bade farewell to San Francisco Monday night and … sailed off to points west.” Wherever the QM2 docks, crowds gather to take in the spectacle. Some cities set off fireworks in welcome. And when, in February, the QM2 and the QE2 met in Sydney Harbour, throngs gathered to see the aquatic get-together. Part of the appeal is no doubt the ship’s glamour, but the QM2’s sheer size also proves a spectacle. At the time of her construction, she was the longest, tallest, and, at
a construction cost of roughly £500,000,000, the priciest liner ever built. (That distinction has since been usurped by Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, which took to the water in 2006. That ship weighs 154,407 gross tons. However, the QM2 remains the largest transatlantic liner in the world: The Freedom, like most other cruise ships, is not built for cross-ocean travel.) The QM2 is the largest ship ever to pass beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. She is so large, in fact, that she is unable to dock in most ports. Smaller boats ferry passengers to meet her. Her crew numbers 1,250, and she typically carries about 2,620 passengers (although she has a maximum guest capacity of 3,056). Christened by the reigning monarch in Southampton in January 2004 (the ship’s namesake is Queen Mary who reigned from 1910-1936), the ship on her maiden voyage sailed from England to the United States. Today, the QM2 offers a host of voyages from which to choose.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go The QM2’s trip menu includes transatlantic crossings, world cruises, and sails to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Northern Europe. Of these, the transatlantic crossing could be considered the QM2’s signature voyage. It takes six days to sail from the eastern United States to England. The Caribbean and Americas cruises stop at such hot spots as St. Kitts and St. George before traveling north to destinations including New York, Boston, and Quebec. Explore Rome, Venice, the Iberian Peninsula, and the French Riviera during your Mediterranean sail. If Northern Europe piques your interest, you’ll enjoy exploring Norwegian fjords and cities. World cruises run up to 106 nights, and take passengers to some of the planet’s most glittering destinations, including Paris, Hong Kong, Cairo, Sydney, and San Francisco, as well as sites in Southeast Asia and India.
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You’ll feel completely redesigned, too. Now that we’ve completed our $100 million transformation, we invite you to join us and feel brand new yourself. You’ll stay in a breathtaking new room or suite, relax at our remodeled Willow Stream Spa and ocean club, and lounge by our even more spectacular pool. Plus, you’ll play 36 championship holes redesigned tee-to-green by World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd. It’s a whole new Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club. Designed to make you feel exactly the same way. For reservations or more information, please contact your preferred travel professional, call 1 888 495 0722 or visit www.fairmont.com/turnberryisle
Dining and Bunking The QM2 is known for her luxury accommodations. They come in three classes: Queens Grill, Princess Grill, and Britannia staterooms. The level of your accommodation (with Queens Grill being the best on the ship) determines the restaurant in which you’ll dine. Dining in the Queens Grill (200 seats) and Princess Grill (178 seats) is at the guest’s will. The 1,300-seat Britannia dining room offers two seatings nightly. All three dining rooms have met with excellent reviews, with many considering the Britannia dining room to be the ship’s true heart. No matter what level of accommodation you seek, eating is a significant part of your experience. While menus in the three main dining rooms are forever changing, a recent Queens Grill menu boasted sevruga caviar followed by a greens and orange salad, and lobster flambé with Cognac. For dessert, taste the baked Alaska with
• Golden Lion Pub: This British eatery serves up such favorites as bangers and mash (that’s sausages and mashed potatoes). Also sip from a wide array of beers and lagers. • Kings Court: Specializes in casual breakfasts and latenight buffets. At the dinner hour, the restaurant morphs into a pan-continental smorgasbord. Interlinking dining areas specialize in Oriental, Italian, and British food. • Sir Samuel: This venue is a coffee bar by day (a great place, in the mornings, to snack on a muffin or Danish), and a wine bar at night. • The Boardwalk Café: The most casual eatery on the ship. It is situated outdoors, near the sundeck pool. Patrons may dine in their bathing suits. • The Queens Room: Enjoy a full afternoon tea here, with scones, pastries, and finger sandwiches. Those planning a sail aboard the QM2 should know that there is a level of formality here not often encountered on
Famed Boston chef Todd English brings his signature style and quality aboard with his namesake restaurant.
morello cherries. At the Princess Grill, it was Atlantic seafood bisque followed by Chateaubriand. At the Britannia Restaurant, guests supped on escargot, then moved on to a main course of roast duck à l’orange. Many specialties carry over from one restaurant to the next. In addition to meals in your assigned dining venue, a number of other restaurants are ready to serve. These are: • Todd English: Named for the famed Boston chef, this upscale eatery specializes in innovative Mediterranean cuisine.
American ships. On a typical six-night transatlantic crossing, you can expect two to three formal evenings – black tie, ball gowns, and cocktail dresses are in order. After you dine, you may want to waddle back to your cabin for a rest. Here, too, the QM2 impresses. Approximately 80 percent of the QM2’s cabins have balconies. All are decorated with fine prints. Queens Grill accommodations range from 506 square feet to an astounding 2,249 square feet. Princess Grill accommodations run about 380 square feet. Guests in both classes enjoy a 39
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The QM2’s Canyon Ranch Spa is a world leader in high-quality spa treatments. Say hello to 20,000 square feet of luxury and wave goodbye to any stress.
host of amenities, including private balconies, 24-hour room services, nightly turndown service, strawberries and Champagne at embarkation, Frette linens, daily newspapers, flower arrangements, and a concierge service offering nine varieties of pillows. Queens Grill passengers also enjoy priority embarkation with separate check-in, a personal butler service, and access to private lounges. Britannia staterooms, meanwhile, while more modest (typically ranging from 155 to 380 square feet, many with balconies), still offer amenities such as nightly turndown service and 24-hour room service.
Days at Sea Your days at sea can be divided into self-guided and organized pursuits. On your own, you’ll have fun exploring the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a 20,000-square-foot retreat. It features 24 treatment rooms, a lounge, and an aqua therapy room. Enjoy treatments such as Swedish massages, stone massages, manicures, pedicures, and makeovers. Or you may just choose to kick back in the Finnish sauna and the aromatic steam room. Buffed and polished, take the time to visit the QM2’s Art Gallery. Here, you’ll find originals and lithographs by 20th century masters including Picasso, Dali, Chagall, and Erte. Contemporary work is also on view. You may also enjoy: • Illuminations: Billed as the only full-scale planetarium at sea, Illuminations offers a number of constellation shows. The venue doubles as a movie theater and lecture hall.
• The Play Zone: Children aged 3-17 find a variety of age-appropriate activities here. • The Library: Browse through the 8,000 volumes on hand in the QM2’s library, or purchase a tome at the adjacent bookstore. • The Computer Centre: This venue serves up 21 computer workstations. In addition, 14 WiFi hotspots are available throughout the ship. • Swimming Pools: There are five of them, one of which is indoors. Take a dip where you like. • The Grand Lobby: The lobby is three decks high, and boasts two grand staircases. You may choose to spend some time here, listening as harpists, string quartets, and other musicians play. • Mayfair Shops: Here you’ll find boutiques by Harrods, H. Stern, Chopard, Hermes, Chanel, and other fine merchants. • Sports Decks: On decks 12 and 13, you’ll find golf simulators, basketball courts, shuffleboard courts, and a putting green. If you prefer to take in more organized pursuits, you’ll find the QM2 happy to oblige. The ship’s Cultural Enrichment Programme offers a variety of lectures and panel discussions presented by experts in their fields. Topics vary from trip to trip. Past programs have focused on everything from fashion, cooking, science, and Renaissance art to acting, as presented by the members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Lovers of the written word, meanwhile, appreciate the Cunard Book Club. Here you can take part in literary discussions based on New York Times best sellers.
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Nightlife Nightlife on the QM2 is legendary. Formal dress balls – including the Black and White Captain’s Ball and the Ascot Ball – are eagerly anticipated by passengers. They are hosted in the Queens Room ballroom, a 134-foot wide, doubleheight venue boasting huge crystal chandeliers and multi-tiered seating. In addition to these glittery affairs, the QM2 offers nightly opportunities for sophisticated fun. Try your luck at the Empire Casino. Taking its inspiration from the great gambling halls of Monte Carlo, the casino offers more than 120 slot machines, along with gaming tables and video poker. If you prefer dancing to the toss, visit G32. DJs and a live dance band get the party going. Those who prefer quieter evenings out visit the Commodore Club or the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar. At the Commodore Club, enjoy a drink, listen to live piano music, and make sure to examine the scale model of the QM2. At the Champagne Bar, choose from among seven Veuve Clicquot vintages.
Formal evenings aboard the QM2 are still the epitome of class and quality.
Finally, if your evening out is incomplete without a trip to the theater, take in the QM2’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts program. Six graduate actors perform abridged versions of well-known plays. The 1,015-seat Royal Court Theatre serves up lighter fare, typically musical revues and performances by guest entertainers. Notables such as John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, have appeared here. With luxury cabins, top-notch cuisines, and an array of entertainment options, your transatlantic crossing will pass quickly. For many, far too quickly. Bon voyage! 41
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With an excellent attendantcustomer ratio, the service aboard Singapore Airlines is beyond reproach. Here a flight attendant checks on a first-class passenger.
Photos 42 courtesy of Singapore Airlines unless otherwise noted
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Flying by the Stars By Claudia Jannone
my last flight with a domestic carrier, the chief flight attendant announced, “Although our job tonight is to ensure the safety of all passengers, once the plane has reached cruising altitude we will pass through the cabin with beverage service.” I had crossed the Pacific just hours before – in coach for 13 hours on Taiwan-based China Airlines. That flight had been so service-oriented that this flight attendant’s assertion that service on this transcontinental “red-eye” was not a priority stung like a slap on the cheek. No matter which Asian airline I fly, the deal is the same: excellent service, no matter where you are in the plane. So I have been spoiled – spoiled by flight attendants whose eyes smile as readily as their lips, spoiled by good meals charmingly served on nice linens and good china, by real pillows with fresh cotton pillowcases, by toilet compartments that are cleaned and restocked
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Having the space to keep the routines of home can make long flights a little easier.
hourly, by cloth hand towels in business class and complimentary toothbrushes, combs, razors, and lotions. When middle-of-the-night hunger starts to gnaw as the 747 passes over the Bering Strait and a flight attendant in a Chinese-inspired dress delivers me a steaming hot noodle cup, I feel supremely pampered. I learned about Asian ways from living and traveling extensively in Asia. On the ground and in the air, the aesthetic is identical – service, service, service. There is an expectation about checking into a fine hotel in Asia that holds true from Tokyo and Hong Kong to Bangkok and Dubai: If your jacket slips from your shoulders as you approach the desk, an employee will rush to catch it before it drops upon the polished marble floor. Such superb service results from a high employee-to-guest ratio, which Asian airlines accomplish with 15 to 16 flight attendants on transoceanic routes. Even in first class, high-quality service on U.S. carriers has become remarkable only because of its rarity. Having wrenched my back before traveling from the East Coast to Sri Lanka by way of Los Angeles, I explained the injury to a flight attendant upon boarding the domestic leg of my trip. I asked for help getting my carry-on into the overhead compartment and sat down. She said, “I’ll help you, but you’re going to have to lift it too.” If she could not hoist my 15-pound bag, I doubt she could wrestle out one of those heavy plane doors in an emergency, yet flight attendants are there for passenger safety. No one would receive such treatment on an Asian carrier. The tiniest of stewardesses clad in a tight sarong
can pop a large-wheeled suitcase into the overhead compartment with ease. Seated on the upper deck of a 747 in business? A lithe flight attendant will tote up the bag for you. And down. Just ask. Personal service means just that in Asia: a personal relationship between client and server wherein you are a person with a name. In first and business classes, cabin staff address passengers by name and title. When I first saw a Singapore Airlines stewardess do the carrier’s signature “service dip,” her thighs of steel amazed me. Here’s how she did it: With knees pressed together, she dropped down on her haunches with intense grace – all the while balancing a tray of glass stems brimming with good champagne and looking into my eyes to inquire if Ms. Jannone “would care for a pre-flight cocktail.” Encased in a form-fitting sarong kebaya, a batik uniform that showcases the island nation’s heritage, she revealed in that dip that I would never need to crane my neck upward to hear her speak. This transpacific flight was in Raffles class, Singapore Airlines’ designation for business. The carrier yearly jets away with many customer satisfaction awards, such as inclusion on the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Travel awards, and the readers’ poll in Travel and Leisure that voted it the world’s best international airline for 11 consecutive years. A 2006 poll of readers conducted by Condé Nast Traveler revealed Singapore Airlines as the best on international routes, followed by Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand, Thai, Qantas, JAL, Malasia, EVA, and ANA. Cultural differences help to explain why Singapore Airlines ranks so highly with travelers. The airline may have
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stopped advertising its excellence as based on a â€œSingapore Girlâ€? philosophy, but the philosophic stance remains. These are not sterile, genderless flight attendants. Rather, they are â€œSingapore Girlsâ€? and their male counterparts, proud to serve passengers. In the mind of Singaporeans, to be a Singapore Girl is to be a celebrity. Parents mail announcements to friends when a daughter is hired after a highly competitive interview process and completes an extensive four-month training course that includes social
Above: With seats that lie flat to become beds, sleep comes easily. Below: Food service aboard most Asian airlines (here in Singapore Airlinesâ€™ business class) elevates fine dining to a new level, approximately 30,000 feet.
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Above left: With state-of-the-art computer terminals, your office can be right in front of you or a million miles away, it’s your choice. Above right: Quality appointments (pictured here in Singapore Airlines’ business class) keep customers coming back. Below: First comes comfort, then relaxation for passengers in Singapore Airlines’ economy class.
etiquette, grooming, passenger-handling skills, meal service, wine appreciation, first aid, and safety procedures for all aircraft. Ignoring a politically-correct agenda, the airline bases its choices on charm, beauty, intelligence, and the demonstration of a genuine desire to serve. However, cabin staff must also pass muster in a simulated water-rescue operation that mimics a rough sea. As equipment evolves, so does the in-flight experience. The new A-345 service in Raffles class on Singapore Airlines’ nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Singapore takes just under 17 hours, but it eliminates hours of travel time usually devoured by a stop in Japan, Korea, or Taiwan. The luxury of readily available flight attendants and a spacious interior creates a comfortable journey. Nonstop A-345 service to Singapore from Los Angeles or Newark carries only 64 business class guests who can snuggle down in a 78-inch SpaceBed that reclines to a flat position. The 117 passengers in
the Executive Economy class on the nonstop flights find a spacious cabin complete with socializing areas and seats that recline 92 degrees. I found Raffles class on the nonstop A-345 far superior to overseas flights in first class on domestic airlines. Recall with me the evening meal … served whenever I wanted it! The starter of fresh crab and mango salad – topped with cilantro and other aromatic herbs and ringed by a river of gazpacho – rivaled the cuisine in a fine restaurant. I had pre-ordered my entrée a week earlier – a traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi, which my Piper-Heidsieck Rare Cuvée accented nicely. With presentation that mimicked a good bistro on the ground, a stewardess next wheeled by the cheese cart, an eyelevel affair offering a selection of international cheeses, nuts, and fresh fruits. Cocktails, wine, Champagne, port, and espresso followed, finishing with chocolates and ice cream topped with fresh raspberry sauce. For the mid-flight snack, I ordered dim sum and fresh fruit, the perfect light nibble after a delicious nap. Breakfast included the usual espresso/cappuccino/exotic roasts, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and natural cereal, followed by the entrée I had pre-selected – roast baby chicken in balsamic reduction with roasted fall vegetables and polenta. Never, not even on the ground, have I been so delighted by breakfast. On a flight to Kuala Lumpur in first class, I asked my Malaysian Airlines stewardess about personal safety in the capital. She provided a rundown of neighborhoods and assured me that her country was a safe one for solo women travelers. On the return leg, the aircraft experienced mechanical problems and was delayed several hours. I inquired if it would be possible to put me on the next morning’s flight rather than leave on this one, which was scheduled for a midnight departure. Malaysian
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Photos via leonardo.com
Airlines arranged a complimentary hotel, meals, and a chauffeured Rolls-Royce to and from the Hyatt Regency. It has been ventured that there are more millionaires in Southeast Asia than anywhere else on Earth. Carriers from this region – Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, even the short-haul Bangkok Airways with its elegant private airports that make me feel like a guest at a resort as I lounge in an open-air pavilion while being served lemongrass tea and nibbles by smiling sarong-clad staff – are superb because the clientele demand it. Thai Airways received Global Traveler’s Best Trans-Pacific Airline Award in 2006. Its flight attendants must possess a bachelor’s degree, foreign-language certification, good health, approachable personality, and human-relation skills, all of which result in the world-renowned Royal Orchid service. Thai Airways’ transcontinental fleet contains seating arrangements that follow a fewer-is-better dictum. The A340-500s seat 60 in Royal Silk (business class), 42 in Premium Economy, and 113 in Economy. A340-600s offer eight first-class places, 60 business seats, and 199 coach seats. I appreciate the hospitality offered by 15 smiling Thai flight attendants, international cuisine, and spotless toilets with arrangements of fresh orchids. Cathay Pacific’s fleet of mainly Boeing 747s, A330s, and A340s averages 7 years of age. It makes service a priority in all classes, because to become a flight attendant is to become an ambassador for Hong Kong, a safety expert, and a multilingual caregiver who is versed in empathy for people from various cultures. The superior service delivered by Cathay flight attendants has won the airline many awards.
Outside of Southeast Asia, Korean Air has received worldwide recognition for its dedication to service and promise to pamper and recent accolades such as the Mercury Award for in-flight dining. It surfaced at the top of TIME Asia Readers’ 2006 Travel Choice Awards as the Best in First/Business Class Airline and ranked second in the Preferred Airline category (Singapore Airlines received first). It has been nominated for Global Traveler’s 2007 Travel Awards for Asia’s Leading Airline and Leading Business Class Airline. Accolades for service on Asian carriers are reinforced by rigorous market research by organizations like Skytrax, a business group that monitors airline quality. Of the 11 airlines receiving awards for service excellence in 2006 (in categories including cabin staff, airport services, lounges, in-flight entertainment systems, and catering), two were European, six were Asian (Thai, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, China Airlines, and Asiana), and three were from the Middle East (Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Gulf Air). The geographic breakdown makes sense because Central Asia is the other “millionaires’ row.” Skytrax awarded an overall five-star excellence ranking for long-haul service to only five carriers: Malaysian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Asiana Airlines. When traveling to these exotic locales, I like to coordinate my hotels to match the high level of airline service. In Bangkok I choose The Oriental, in Hong Kong The Peninsula. The Fullerton in Singapore offers Palladianstyled luxury in its renovation of the former General Post Office, a striking edifice awash in tall columns. The best Dubai has to offer, the Burj Al Arab, appears on the desert horizon as a monumental vessel with a billowing sail.
Top left: The pool at the Fullerton in Singapore. Top right: A hotel suite at Hong Kong’s Peninsula. 49
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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates that garnered four Skytrax stars, defines customers as “guests,” with service in three guest zones: Diamond, Pearl, and Coral. Its long-haul fleet of A340300s, A340-500s, and Boeing 767-300s is all new, assuring a roomy cabin, increased range, and safety. Tickets in the Diamond zone include chauffeur service at both ends of the flight (specific locations only), signature cuisine prepared by award-winning international chefs, and state-of-the-art entertainment systems. On A340500s, the seats rotate 180 degrees to create spaces for business meetings and also convert to 80-inch flat beds for a true night’s sleep. Voted the world’s leading new airline by the World Travel Awards for the third consecutive year, Etihad has service from New York and Toronto to the Emirates and points beyond in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
and fine wines. After a good meal that has been well served, sleep comes easily when amenity kits include pajamas and flight attendants have transformed seating on A330s and A340-600s into flat beds complete with feather duvets and pillows. Word about Qatar’s excellent service led to a recent TTG Asia travel award: Best Airline in the Middle East and Africa. Global Traveler, a U.S.-based magazine, voted Qatar the best airline in the Middle East. In summer 2007, Qatar Airlines begins daily nonstop service between Doha and New York on new, state-of-the-art A340-600s that feature an onboard first-class lounge.
Qatar Airlines, one of five five-star airlines, takes a motto that defines its commitment to customer service – five-star
I love how Asian flight attendants do not allow coach passengers to storm the premium cabin upon arrival. Passengers in first or business class leave the plane in peace, often disembarking through a separate jetway and arriving first at immigration. Even when flying coach, I respect the custom because it feels just. As I stood with two American men waiting our turn to exit a China Airlines
service begins on the ground. Features of the airline’s premium terminal, a $90 million facility completed in December 2006 at Doha International Airport, include exclusive check-in service for premium passengers and a lounge with concierge service around the clock. The first-class lounge indulges passengers with a spa, sauna, showers, duty-free shopping, hot and cold appetizers, and private sleep cabins. First-class pampering continues onboard with 10-course dinners based on the finest caviar, lobster, prawns, various Arabic mezzas, cheeses, luxury chocolates, freshly-brewed international coffees,
flight, one remarked on how nice the flight attendants had made the journey. The other called his last trip (on an unnamed U.S. carrier) a nightmare: “They practically threw stuff at us.” As a fan of Bangkok Airways who believes “small is beautiful,” I next want to fly the other two small carriers that achieved five-star rankings: Kingfisher Airlines (a domestic carrier in India that dubs its planes “funliners”) and Air Tahiti Nui (a David among Goliaths that serves four continents with just five wide-body planes). When traveling to exotic lands, I think the journey should be as lovely as the destination.
Quality lies in cutting-edge, spacious, and sumptuous details.
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the Caribbean. The mere thought of this tropical paradise and you are instantly transported to a vacation state of mind. The crystalclear water, balmy breezes, and rhythmic beat of steel drums – imagery synonymous with an island retreat – tug at your senses and beg you to escape to paradise. But, if you’re like many discriminating travelers, you may be wary of the increasing crowds and commercialism that plague many of the Caribbean’s treasures. For those who want to see the true, natural beauty of the islands while enjoying fine dining and luxury accommodations, there is an unprecedented option that is quickly gaining in popularity: private vacation charters.
Harris Hatcher Photography
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CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN Chart a course for relaxation as you board a luxury yacht bound for paradise
By Tara N. Wilfong
Photos courtesy of Voyage Charters USA
A bumpy, dusty road leads into Cotopaxi National Park – one of Ecuador’s most spectacular natural areas, which holds the world’s highest active volcano.
Photographs by David Brown
Experience the Caribbean (opposite) in a whole new way by chartering a private vessel, such as a Voyage catamaran (opposite, inset and this page). 53
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Far from the massive cruise ships that shuttle thousands of passengers from one port to the next, private charters cater to small groups, usually just four to 12 passengers, depending on the vessel. With catamarans and monohulls (think luxury speedboats) to choose from, vacationers can tailor their charter experience from the onset. If the rudiments of sailing are of particular interest, consider an elegant catamaran, with its dual hulls, billowing sails, and ability to lithely glide across the water. If you’re more of an adventure buff and life in the fast lane is your style, then a monohull, with its ability to cut through the waves as it motors from island to island, may be more to your liking. With either choice, you will have the opportunity to experience the islands in a truly unique way while enjoying all of the comforts and pleasures of a luxury resort. “All monohulls and catamarans have divine accommodations,” says Sandy Carney of Sanderson Yachting, a charter broker based in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. “The cabins are on par with five-star hotels for top amenities, and luxury linens are de rigueur as are the latest in electronics and stereo equipment.” Spacious, well-appointed cabins, some with their own sitting room, are the norm, as are en suite bathrooms, large, open galley kitchens, and comfortable salons. Onboard the 76-foot catamaran Akasha, which can accommodate 10 guests in four double cabins and one owner’s suite, the cabins are a soothing balm after a day of vigorous watersports under the tropical sun. A mixture of materials, such as buttery leather and smooth, lightcolored wood, blend perfectly to create a sumptuous
palette for silk bed covers and cushions in natural hues of sage and gold. Complementing the ambiance of the cabins are en suite bathrooms crafted from cool marble. In the owners’ suite, a Jacuzzi tub begs you to sink into its depths for a heavenly soak, after which plush, monogrammed towels and bathrobes are provided for your comfort. Throughout the vessel, artwork specifically chosen by the owner has a decidedly South African twist, while displays of fresh flowers permeate and add a clean, tropical fragrance to the air. While these touches propel you straight into vacation mode, certain “necessities,” such as flat-screen televisions, Playstation consoles, a laptop computer complete with wireless Internet service, and Bose stereo systems provide the comforts of home. “It’s our job to ensure guests have a safe and wonderful vacation,” says Veronica Chamberlain, chef onboard Akasha. “We pamper our guests and look after their every need with great service and attention to detail. There are very few charter catamarans of Akasha’s size that can accommodate up to 10 guests. The spaciousness onboard gives a great level of comfort; you would have to charter a much larger monohull or motor yacht to have as much space.” Smaller in size, but with no less attention to detail or comfort, the catamarans of Voyage Charters have been ushering the jet set through the British Virgin Islands since 1995. Voyage Charters is unique in that it builds and sails its own catamarans – the entire fleet of four 50foot and four 58-foot vessels were constructed by its associate company, Voyage Yachts, in South Africa.
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Photos courtesy of Voyage Charters USA
It has launched more than 125 vessels and executed more than 1,500 charters. “Everything in the design of our boats has a purpose,” says Stella Beavis, manager of charter sales for Voyage. “The décor is very modern; the colors are cool in keeping with the tropical climate of the Caribbean; and our boats are designed to embrace the natural light and air.” Onboard, a delectable mix of monochromatic colors – white, black, and gray – are decidedly European, while the bright splashes of color in the artwork and accessories create a contemporary canvas with a Caribbean vibe. Complementing the vessels’ palette is a mixture of materials, including marble, leather, and wood, which add to their inviting décor. Sumptuous linens and the latest in high-tech electronics complete the
Opposite: You set the pace and the course when you cruise the Caribbean by private charter, allowing as much time as you’d like for watersports, relaxation, or sightseeing. Above: The thoughtfullyappointed interior of a Voyage catamaran allows travelers to relax in beautiful but functional surroundings.
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package. “The décor and accoutrements are not only beautiful, but user-friendly as well,” explains Beavis. “You never feel that you can’t step right out of the water onto the yacht; all of the materials we use are ideal for this climate.” After settling in and exploring the countless amenities inside these floating suites, you’ll be just as enchanted by their outdoor offerings. Al fresco dining is available on both catamarans and monohulls, as are numerous watersports, including waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. For the sun worshipper, there are countless spots for soaking in the tropical rays. The catamarans in particular offer a sunning experience like no other. Strung between the
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out of their vacation and makes suggestions that can be changed, if desired, on a daily basis.”
dual hulls is a net trampoline where guests can enjoy the Caribbean heat while mist from the ocean waves gently caresses their bodies with a cool, salt spray. “The British Virgin Islands [BVI], in particular, have wonderful year-round trade winds, which provide a tranquil warm breeze, in addition to gentle rolling waves,” Beavis says. “Ideally, even when you’re inside the boat, you never want to turn on the air conditioning in favor of the natural cooling air and water outside.” As you embrace total mental and physical relaxation, the real allure of a private vacation charter hits home: the level of service, as well as the customization of each itinerary. The guests, not the crew, choose the destinations to visit, the length of time spent at each island, and the menu to satisfy their every want. “The beauty of chartering a yacht is that there are no schedule restrictions except the client’s,” says Carney. “They can stay longer in one locale than originally planned, or leave earlier – it’s completely at their discretion. Every charter has a unique itinerary that is developed by the captain in concert with the client and their broker.”
Right: Akasha, a 76-foot catamaran, can accommodate 10 guests in its four double cabins and owner’s suite.
The former is best known for the Soggy Dollar Bar on White Bay, aptly named because visitors arriving by boat must swim ashore, since there is no dock. If you do embrace tradition, soggy dollars in hand, the gentle waves will propel you ashore as a panorama of sea life parades in the depths below. Brightly colored fish, stingrays, and perhaps the occasional sea turtle will glide by, undeterred by your presence. On the beach, sugary-white sand provides a soft blanket while you catch your breath after an exhilarating swim. Beavis recommends that when you do sidle up to the bar you order the signature island drink, the rum-infused “Painkiller,” then people-watch and rake in the atmosphere. “The people on Jost Van Dyke are the most laid-back,” she says. “If you go ashore, it’s not unusual for someone to just pick up a guitar and start playing. Music is everything to them.” If you want to keep the party going, sail over to Great Harbor and experience the world-renowned Foxy’s Bar, where Foxy himself just might be entertaining.
Photo courtesy of Akasha, Nicholson Yachts
Above: The interiors on Voyage charters are marked by monochromatic colors with bright splashes of color.
From the moment you board a private charter, the crew, consisting of a captain and chef – though some charters also include a stewardess and deckhand – tend to your every need. As you explore the vessel, getting acquainted with its layout and provisions, the captain gives his “captain’s briefing,” a quick list of dos and don’ts mixed in with sailing etiquette. To keep the mood light and the chat friendly, the chef prepares cocktails as the captain and guests discuss the trip’s itinerary. “With safety as our utmost concern, we cover this discussion as soon as our guests arrive,” Beavis says. “We’ve found that this informal, yet important, talk relaxes our guests and makes them feel less intimidated by the boat. Also at this briefing, the captain asks what in particular they want
Photo courtesy of Voyage Charters USA
If you’re sailing the BVI – the premier charter destination in the world because it offers the greatest number of islands in the smallest area, according to Beavis – you can tailor your vacation to include incredible natural coves and bays or boisterous nightspots resonating with the familiar sounds of reggae music. Whatever route you choose, there are a few “not-to-miss” spots that our experts suggest. Two destinations like no other are the islands of Jost Van Dyke and Anegada.
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Photo courtesy of Voyage Charters USA
Unlike Jost Van Dyke’s mountainous terrain, Anegada is a unique atoll that can be easily missed in the waters of the Caribbean. Just 28 feet above sea level, Anegada is a long, flat island characterized by the occasional palm tree and interior salt flats. Besides endless miles of relatively deserted beaches, Anegada’s real draw is “Cow Wreck” on the island’s westernmost point. “Cow Wreck is the most picturesque place you’ll ever see a sunset from because you won’t see anything else – no people, no islands, no development,” Beavis says. Deriving its name from a shipwreck in which cattle bones were washed ashore, the area is famous for its nightly lobster bakes at the Cow Wreck Bar. If you want to sample some of the best local cuisine, lobster sizzling over an open bonfire is an experience like no other. Island hopping from Jost Van Dyke to Anegada, and all ports in between, is just one lure of a luxury charter vacation. With the ultimate freedom of choice and a high level of comfort, these floating paradises are a secret indulgence well within reach. “The best thing about a private charter is that the crew
is meticulously trained on how to give impeccable service, and more importantly, when to give it,” Beavis says. “A high level of service is provided effortlessly, so the passengers don’t even realize someone is there doing it. Every effort is made to ensure guests view the vessel as their own private yacht and that the crew is just there to make their dream vacation even more magical.”
Fantastic Fare Aside from the exotic, and oftentimes remote, islands you sail to in a perpetual state of luxury, one of the most enticing aspects of a private charter is the delectable menu crafted by the boat’s master chef. Akasha’s Chamberlain has served as a first mate/chef for the past six years, extensively sailing the Caribbean and Mediterranean aboard private charters, including the past year aboard the Akasha. She is primarily a self-taught chef, but she has also been professionally trained by famed culinary institution Le Cordon Bleu. “I have a genuine passion for cooking, and I gain great satisfaction from people enjoying my food,” she explains. “I particularly enjoy cooking Continued on page 62
Charter companies ask guests for their culinary preferences before they arrive for their excursion to ensure that the menu is to their liking.
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Image: © Zach Stovall
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Bon AppÉtit! Sample Menu for Akasha FWI (French West Indies) Breakfast: Toast with sticky pineapple sauce Smoked salmon lox with toasted bagels Blueberry and banana pancakes with warm maple syrup and crispy bacon Luncheon: Fresh grilled tuna salad with mango and papaya accompanied by chilled Sancerre Grilled hamburgers with all the fixings Tobago flying fish with horseradish and capers Afternoon Cocktails: Fresh fruit daiquiri Appetizer and Pre-dinner Cocktails: Basil pesto, olive, and roasted pepper goat cheese torte Skewered rosemary shrimp with mint pesto Roasted garlic hummus with pita and crudités
Photos courtesy of Voyage Charters USA
Entrée: Lobster bisque followed by beef tenderloin with a port reduction, blue cheese and chive butter Roast duck breasts with tamarind-orange glaze Roasted sea bass with garlic and shallot vinaigrette Dessert: New York cheesecake with passion fruit coulis Triple-chocolate tiramisu Lemon panna cotta with blackberry sauce Nightcap: Cappuccino, espresso, cognac 61
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modern Caribbean style, incorporating as much local produce as possible, as well as many international foods with an Asian influence.” A typical day on any given charter includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to numerous appetizers, cocktails, and desserts freshly prepared by the chef. To accommodate your culinary preferences, the charter company prepares a preference sheet in advance of your vacation, on which you can detail likes, dislikes, and any potential allergies. “Food and drink is a huge part of the vacation, so it’s very important that we customize it to the individuals’ tastes,” Beavis says. “On the water, your appetite is always there because of the activity, so you can eat without guilt. We compare our scrumptious meals to living in the Cooking Channel, but here, you get to taste everything every day!”
Ahoy! Sailors If you’re a boat owner, you already know how exhilarating and freeing life can be on the sea. Evening sails, morning fishing trips, and the often-enticing weekend away are all perks of ownership. But, if you’re like many sailors, the thought of an extended excursion to faraway ports like those of the Caribbean can be a bit intimidating. If you find yourself in this predicament, consider hiring a short-term captain to sail your boat. “Our services are an alternative for boat owners who
don’t want to hire a full-time, year-round crew,” says Captain Don Jackson, a captain for hire based in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. “This alternative is particularly popular amongst boat owners who want to sail their own boat, but who aren’t comfortable enough to cross the Florida Straits, or aren’t comfortable doing a 24-hour stint overnight at the helm.” Specializing in crewed charters to the Caribbean, Jackson, who holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton master’s license that allows him to sail just about any private or commercial vessel on the water, has delivered vessels from 30 feet to more than 100 feet to the islands from all ports along the East Coast. Depending on the boat’s size, he usually hires just one additional crewmember, who serves as first mate and chef, but supplemental crewmembers can be easily added for larger charters or parties. “Our main goal is to provide owners with an individualized, stress-free vacation where we deliver their boat to a desired location safely and on time,” Jackson says. “We are here to eliminate all the hassles and provide all the perks of a private charter.” For the ultimate hassle-free, charter-like experience, Jackson and his crew will also sail your vessel directly to the Caribbean, meeting you at the port of your choice. With this scenario, boat owners are spared from dealing with breakdowns, foul weather, and unexpected delays, as well as the time-consuming, but
Below: Catamarans like Voyage Charters’ Fantasy Island are a popular charter choice, but monohulls are also an option.
Photo courtesy of Voyage Charters USA
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required, step of clearing customs. “Many of our clients prefer for us to handle the necessary paperwork of sailing to the Caribbean,” Jackson explains. “We usually clear customs in a convenient spot like Nassau, Bahamas, because it has deep channels and easy access to provisions. Once the owner and his or her family and friends arrive, we have already dealt with general maintenance, such as washing and waxing the vessel, as well as supplying the boat with groceries, beverages, and toiletries, so they can easily start cruising as soon as they arrive.” What makes this arrangement even sweeter is that the captain and crew do not require a minimum or maximum number of days for each charter, nor are there additional fees for extra services, such as fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, or even guided tours. With more than 15 years of experience sailing to and from the islands, Jackson is familiar with the best diving and snorkeling spots, as well as many off-the-beaten-path sites that are relatively untouched and undiscovered jewels of the tropics. “The diversity of the islands from one side to the other is palpable,” he says. “One of my favorite places to cruise is the Abacoes in the Bahamas because there are great ports that are easy to navigate, private beaches, fantastic restaurants, and great shopping. Wherever boat owners want to sail, we can get them there quickly and safely and provide a vacation experience like no other.”
For More Information: Akasha www.akasha.com Captain Don Jackson Murrells Inlet, South Carolina (843) 457-8380 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Sanderson Yachting 223 Wapping Rd., Portsmouth, RI 02871 (401) 338-6866 e-mail: email@example.com Voyage Charters USA Warehouse Creek Marina 58 Leeland Rd., Edgewater, MD 21037 (888) 869-2436 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.voyagecharters.com
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An Interview with
â€œThe donaldâ€? shares his thoughts on success, his latest projects, and his favorite getaways
Photos courtesy of The Trump Organization
By Iwalani Kahikina and Michael J. Tully
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olls-Royce Owners’ Club Luxury Travel Guide 2007: You seem to have a golden touch with your many endeavors, from your towers, casinos, and golf courses to your highly rated television show. What’s your definition of success? Donald Trump: Success is loving what you’re doing and doing it well. You started out working with your father and eventually entered the world of Manhattan real estate. Then you branched out to the aforementioned casinos and golf courses and eventually, hotels. Which of your numerous ventures is closest to your heart? I have a genuine enthusiasm for everything I do, so that’s hard to answer. However, I’m currently developing a golf course in Scotland, in Aberdeen, which is tremendously exciting to me. It’s a fantastic property on the sea, and because I love playing golf and have Scottish heritage from my mother, this project is particularly special. There is a growing list of international Trump Organization endeavors – Seoul, Toronto, Canouan Island, Dubai, etc. Are these destinations that you gravitate toward on a personal level as well as a financial one? They are all wonderful destinations. They deserve topquality hotels, and we know we can enhance these locations with our buildings. What prompted you to make the move into the hospitality field with your luxury hotels? My first hotel and tower, Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City, was a huge success. It made sense to duplicate it elsewhere. It was voted the No.1 hotel in New York City. We will have another spectacular success with our tower going up in SoHo. New York City deserves two Trump International Hotel & Towers. What amenities do you find to be key in a luxury hotel? What do you think makes a hotel stand out as a premier establishment? The best of everything works, as in service, location, amenities, restaurants, and so forth. My hotels have a reputation for impeccable and gracious service. I know what I like, and I have very high standards, and that’s what we deliver to my guests. It’s a simple formula. 67
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Along with your award-winning hotels, you have recently entered into the travel business with GoTrump.com and your signature line of travel goods – travel really seems to be a passion of yours. Can you foresee a time when Donald Trump the businessman might be replaced by Donald Trump the traveler? Not really. I have always traveled a lot as it’s important to my businesses. Do you ever find it possible to completely relax while on vacation? If so, what’s your secret?
What I enjoy most when on vacation is to play golf, and I develop golf courses, so in a sense I’m still working – which I love. The secret is to love what you’re doing, then you’ll never really need a vacation. Where is your favorite luxury getaway and what is it that makes it a preferred destination for you? My Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach is the ideal getaway for me. It’s on the ocean, it’s near the Trump International Golf Club, and the grounds are spectacular, as is the house itself. It’s my second residence, and there’s no place in the world that can equal it in luxury. However, I’ve been spending more time at my course in Palos Verdes, near Los Angeles, in California, and it’s become another luxury getaway that is wonderful in every way. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and it’s already the No.1 course in California. As I spend more time in Los Angeles these days, it’s a fantastic addition to my roster of preferred destinations. There has been a trend recently for billionaires like yourself to investigate private space travel. Is this something that interests you? Not really. I’m so busy on Planet Earth that it would be a distraction. The last few years have seen the Trump name attached to some exciting endeavors outside of the real estate development arena, including Trump magazine, Trump University, Trump Vodka, the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants … What do you see next? We are expanding internationally and there’s always something new on the horizon. I have a couple more books in the works and will continue with a variety of projects. You’re undoubtedly considered a real estate guru, an imaginative entrepreneur, and an excellent businessman, but if you had to choose an alternate career path, what could you see yourself doing? Before I went to Wharton, I had considered going to USC to study film. Being a producer interested me. How do you want to be remembered 100 years from now? As a developer who enhanced the landscape, whether that be in the Scottish countryside or in Manhattan or Dubai.
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Come to where every wave in the ocean
of cr ashing.
Discover the charm and beauty of Old Mexico amid the scenic coastal hillsides of the Grand Bay Hotel Isla Navidad Resort. A longtime favorite along the Pacific Gold Coast, each one of this Wyndham Luxury Resort’s 200 oversized rooms are elegantly decorated and luxuriously furnished to reflect its romantic atmosphere and picturesque locale. Accented by a world-class golf course, 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a stellar culinary staff, guests never have a hard time finding their way here, it’s leaving that’s always the most difficult.
For reservations, call 1.800.WYNDHAM or visit www.wyndham.com.
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Nature slowly reclaims ancient ruins, barely noticing a family of intrepid snorkelers.
ontemplating a seaside getaway? With thousands of miles of shoreline fringing several bodies of water – the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Sea of Cortez, to name only the largest – Mexico tempts beach seekers with an array of splashy retreats. Indeed, the country’s menu of resorts is so diverse that it’s useful to have some choice-making strategies. First, pick some waterside scenery, from desert to jungle and mountains. Now, select some favorite activities: diving, golf, exploring ancient Mayan cities, collecting contemporary art. Then figure out how social – or secluded – you’d like to be. While it’s impossible for a single beach resort to include every desired vacation ingredient, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and the Riviera Maya stand out for their complexity and richness, not to mention gorgeous presentation. ¡Buen provecho – hearty appetite!
Mexico’s sunny shores offer a plethora of vacation possibilities By Edie Jarolim
How did Cabo – as it’s known to its many devotees – become so popular? The answer lies underwater. Angling experts contend that the numbers and varieties of fish caught here year-round are unrivaled anywhere on the planet. While Cabo may not resemble the sleepy getaway that drew Ernest Hemingway, Bing Crosby, and other celebrity anglers in the 1940s and 1950s, the resident fish seem undeterred – especially the marlin. By some counts, more than 40,000 are hooked each year, earning Cabo the nickname “Marlin Alley.”
Mayan fortification Tulum, perched high atop limestone cliffs, is one of the Riviera Maya’s most visited sites.
Oversized sea creatures enjoy coming to Cabo, too. Between January and March, some 3,000 to 5,000 gray whales swim approximately 6,000 miles south from Alaska’s Bering Strait to the tip of Baja peninsula, in order to give birth in warmer Pacific waters and feed on the plentiful plankton. The annual visits of these enormous mammals, which stay relatively close to shore, have inspired a small industry of tours devoted to peeping at them, from one-hour excursions in small boats
Photos courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
Situated on the tip of the Baja California peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean converge, Los Cabos gives you two coasts for the price of one, along with the dramatic capes, or cabos, for which the destination was named. It also offers three distinct areas to revel in, sometimes literally: low-key San Jose del Cabo, the closest you get to traditional Mexico; party-hearty Cabo San Lucas, where visitors go to let their hair down; and “the Corridor,” a 20-mile stretch of posh resorts and golf courses that connects the two capes.
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Photos courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
Courtesy of Four Seasons, Punta Mita
Punta Mita Golf Club’s signature hole, “Tail of the Whale,” boasts the world’s only “natural island green” and many, many lost golf balls.
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to full-day air/boat trips to such Pacific Coast inlets as Magdalena Bay and Laguna Ojo de Liebre, both prime calving areas. Nor does Cabo neglect landlubbers, especially golfers. The rough really is rough at many of the courses spread along the Corridor – with obstacles including cliffs, arroyos, and huge, 100-year-old cardón cactuses – but, what with a startlingly azure sea contrasting the rolling greens, the scenery couldn’t be easier on the eyes. Since 1992, when Jack Nicklaus debuted his first signature course in Latin America at the Palmilla Golf Club, Los Cabos has become Mexico’s premier golf destination. The roster of celebrity designers – Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Pete Dye, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Fazio, and Greg Norman, to name just the top ones – is as impressive as their course backdrops.
Those who find their bliss in being stretched, wrapped, and prodded while gazing out at the sea won’t be disappointed in Los Cabos, which offers everything from yoga at low-key San Jose day spas to European-style balneotherapy and Aztec-inspired wraps at the top resorts. Bird-watching at the estuary in San Jose is another dry dock option – as is observing the mating rituals in Cabo San Lucas. These begin in the afternoon at the volleyball courts and bars on Medano Beach, and carry on through the wee hours at clubs like Cabo Wabo, El Squid Roe, and the Giggling Marlin (the names alone sum up the sophistication level).
Dave Richards, a longtime veteran in the industry and rater for Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You Can Play” feature, says, “Golf in Cabo is Neiman Marcus variety, very high quality. Plus the conditions are great. You’ve got the ocean views, but because you’re in the desert, there’s practically no humidity.” Richards cites Nicklaus’ Ocean Course at the Cabo del Sol Country Club as the best of the 20 or so Nicklaus links he’s played – “What with the mountains winding down to the sea, it’s hard
For a change of pace – to a much slower one – daytrippers head 43 miles up the Pacific coast to Todos Santos, a one-time sugar cane center turned New Age expatriate enclave. There’s little to do but browse the galleries and crafts shops in the restored Colonial buildings near the plaza, dine at such world-class restaurants as the Café Santa Fe, or visit the 1928 Hotel California, more interesting for its construction materials – planks salvaged from a Norwegian shipwreck –
Courtesy of Resort and Golf Marketing
Palmilla Golf Course, designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, is as challenging as it is beautiful.
to beat” – but also recommends the complementary Desert Course that Tom Weiskopf created there. “Don’t miss it, just because it’s not directly on the ocean,” he advises. “It’s got some great holes.”
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Two moods of Las Ventanas al Paraiso; not a worry in sight.
than for the oft-claimed but dubious link to the Eagles’ song of the same name.
Courtesy of P&G Communications
Like Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta has striking scenery – it’s set on the Pacific coast’s sweeping Bay of Banderas and backed by the foothills of the Sierra Madres – and multiple personalities. The best known of them is the hilly, cobblestone town center, a sleepy fishing village before the 1963 filming of John Huston’s Night of the Iguana. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s romantic trysts while both were married to other people created an international press frenzy. After the celebrity buzz died down, the photos of the stunning beaches continued to draw visitors from around the world. This was not entirely a bad thing. Jane Onstott, author of Fodor’s Puerto Vallarta, explains, “Puerto Vallarta is so beautiful, and many people who came on vacation from wealthier countries wanted to stay, and also to recreate the quality of life they enjoyed back home.” She cites as a recent example chef Bernhard Güth, from the Black Forest region of Germany. The fine dining room that he opened, Trio, was such a success that he and partner Ulf Henrikkson, a chef from Sweden, created Vitea, a more casual bistro. Both eateries highlight “world cuisine,” innovative versions of classical dishes that focus on regional ingredients. “The best chefs in Vallarta take advantage of everything that’s available around here, from tequila and chilis to chocolate and tropical fruit,” Onstott says.
She laughs, “And I know of at least one well-respected restaurateur who likes to frequent two of the local taco stands, which are also terrific.” Puerto Vallarta’s downtown art scene is similarly sophisticated – and fun. Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante has a gallery here, for example, while sculptor Alejandro Colunga is on the roster of established stars who mingle with the up-and-comers represented by Galleria Dante, owned by a Canadian-American couple. But public art is key to Mexican culture, so the seaside malecón (boardwalk) is lined with an array of sculpture, including a whimsical tower by Colunga that children – and many grown-up visitors – love to climb. Four and a half decades after the filming of “The Movie” (as it’s still referred to in Vallarta), old and new mingle easily in downtown. Traditional mariachis serenade young Mexican couples ambling past the malecón’s sculptures; a colorful traditional crafts market and a bronze statue of John Huston share space on the tree-shaded Río Cuale Island; and Liz and Dick’s houses – connected by an arching pink bridge in the neighborhood known as “Gringo Gulch” – are a short walk from the landmark Virgin of Guadalupe Church, recognizable by its lacy crown. Puerto Vallarta’s beachfront to the north is more single-mindedly modern: The high-rise hotel zone throngs with concessions renting everything from jet skis to parasails, and the sparkling marina swims with schools of yachts outfitted for deep-sea fishing trips. If these fishing trips are not quite as rewarding as those 75
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Right: An amazing subterranean world welcomes even tentative visitors.
Photos courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
Below: The Great Maya Reef offers an unparalleled diving experience inside its renowned cenotes.
Those seeking beachfront seclusion head for the smaller towns that dot the Bay of Banderas. Because there are no roads, you have to take a water taxi or private boat to such southern villages as Las Animas, Quimixto, and, the most visited, Yelapa, a former hangout of Bob Dylan and friends (electricity only arrived in Yelapa recently, so Dylan must have gone acoustic there). Roads – and high-end development – have definitely reached Punta Mita, the promontory at the northern tip of the Bay of Banderas, but nearby beaches remain pristine, and the protected Marietas Islands, with thriving marine life first spotlighted by Jacques Cousteau, are just a panga boat ride away. It’s far more difficult to reach the remote mountain towns that are home to the Huichol Indians, known for their intricate yarn and beadwork – several days through tropical thickets if you go overland – but tour operators in Puerto Vallarta can quickly whisk you back to
the past via small aircraft. Alternatively, you can indulge your jungle fever nearer to town by booking a canopy tour, which will have you swinging along the treetops via zip-line.
Riviera Maya The name says it all. This chic stretch of shore on the eastern Yucatán peninsula just south of Cancún features world-class beaches plus intriguing traces of the area’s first real estate developers, the Maya. Visitors come here to take advantage of the warm, clear water and startlingly white sand of Mexico’s lush Caribbean coast while avoiding the crowds and Americanization – at least for the time being – that is prevalent in Cancún. Courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
in Cabo – the Bay of Banderas is so large that it takes a couple of hours to get to the spots where the water is deep enough for the bigger fish – the journey is bracing, and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter some hungry sailfish and blue marlin upon arrival.
The Great Maya Reef, a coral extravaganza second only in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, lies off the coast, and a unique underground river system flows beneath the land, creating a honeycomb of underwater caverns and cenotes: sinkholes created by erosion. It’s easy to see why the cenotes were sacred to the Maya – not only were they a source of fresh water but, when shafts of sunlight from the surface illuminate the huge stalactites and stalagmites, they look magical – and why
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Clockwise from top right: Paraiso de la Bonita welcomes guests to its uniquely designed pool and deck area. Descendants of the area’s original rulers educate, inform, and entertain visitors with their reverent displays of Mayan culture.
Courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
Archaeology, aquatics, and nature combine at the Mayan-themed eco-park Xcaret.
Whichever you choose to do, you’ll find an outfitter to suit you in Playa del Carmen, which, like Puerto Vallarta, was once a fishing village. Although it now serves as the Riviera Maya’s activity center, however, Playa remains relatively small and laid-back. When you’re ready to dry out – literally, not metaphorically – from forays into the water, it’s fun to wander around the town’s craft and beachwear shops, then kick back with a margarita at an outdoor café. Culture buffs don’t have to give up great scenery to explore the region’s roots. Around the 7th century, the Maya built Tulum, a walled city perched high on a limestone cliff overlooking the Caribbean. Highlights include the faded paintings in the Temple of the Frescoes and the lighthouse-like Castillo, Tulum’s tallest structure. Even taller – and open to the public to climb – is the Nohoch Mul pyramid at Cobá, a less trafficked Mayan ruin about an hour inland. It’s worth the effort to scale the steep triangular structure for the commanding views of the surrounding jungle, punctuated by a series of shallow lakes.
Courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
Photos courtesy of Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board
Cathryn Castle, editor of Dive Training magazine, says, “There are not many locations in the world where you can combine clear, freshwater diving and Caribbean reef diving. Here, you can come up from a cenote dive in the morning, and by the time you pack your gear, drive to the reef, and get suited up again, you’re past the surface interval” (the time required to decompress between dives). She adds, “My husband and I probably have done 12,000 dives between us, and we keep coming back to the Riviera Maya for the cenotes, which are amazing.” In addition, as Castle points out, if you or one of your family members is not dive certified, the reefs and cenotes are also great for snorkeling.
Elements of Mayan culture suffuse other activities, too. Aquatics and archaeology meet at Xcaret, a Mayanthemed eco-park where you can swim with dolphins, splash around an underground river, and then watch a reenactment of a Mayan ballgame (no human sacrifice portrayed). As the many extras hired to depict their (oftsacrificed) ancestors in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto can attest, the Maya are far from extinct. At Pac Chen, a contemporary Mayan village, you can sample traditional regional dishes, then rappel into a cenote. In addition, several spas at local resorts feature temezcals, sweat huts used in ancient Mayan ceremonies. Cherie Blair, wife of the British prime minister, took a lot of heat for venturing
Paraiso de la Bonita photo via KWE Group
they now help make the Riviera Maya a magnet for watersport enthusiasts, especially divers.
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Something this intoxicating should not be available to minors
Riviera Maya MEXICO Contact your Grand Specialist to book your r eser vation at: 1-888-923-2722 www.iberostar.com
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into a temezcal on the Riviera Maya a few years ago, but if you’re not in public life, group perspiration can be cool. You can avoid most of the trappings of culture, ancient and otherwise, at the 1.6-million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, designated in 1987 as Mexico’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its tropical forest, grasslands, wetlands, and offshore waters are home to a vast array of wildlife – more than 330 types of birds, as well as such endangered species as jaguar, puma, tapir, manatee, and marsh crocodile. Signs of human presence aren’t entirely absent, however; several shipwrecks lie offshore, and some 22 overgrown Mayan archaeological sites, many of them unexcavated, dot the inland areas. It’s a nice reminder that, no matter how many out-of-towners come and raise a ruckus, Mother Nature always gets the last word.
If you go
Los Cabos The most exclusive hotels in Los Cabos are on the Corridor, including Las Ventanas al Paraiso (www.lasventanas. com), a celebrity haunt where each suite’s terrace has a
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita
Below, right: When the stability of dry land calls, the private docks of Paraiso de la Bonita are a great place to alight.
Several luxury hotel chains are represented in Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and the Riviera Maya. Leading Hotels of the World (www.lhw.com) is a good resource for top accommodations that don’t have name-brand recognition; for well-vetted intimate lodgings, try Mexico Boutique Hotels (www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com).
Puerto Vallarta Although no one section of Puerto Vallarta stands out for luxury lodgings, several accommodations shine. The hacienda-style Casa Velas (www.hotelcasavelas.com) in Marina Vallarta has everything – golf, spa, private plunge pools, proximity to the town’s attractions – except a sandy beachfront. About an hour north of Vallarta, the Four Seasons Punta Mita (www.fourseasons. com/puntamita) provides scores of on-site amenities and activities, including a new yacht for charter – and even a cultural center. You have to take a small plane to reach Villa Sierra Lago (www.sierralago.com/cms/villas), perched on a volcanic lake in the Sierra Madres, but the breathtaking setting, great food – and dancing stallions – reward the trip. For additional information, visit www.visitpuertovallarta. com or call 888-384-6822. The Riviera Maya You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to luxurious places to stay on the Riviera Maya, where new posh spots with all the mod cons keep springing up on the coast – in every size. One of the top smaller properties, Esencia (www.hotelesencia.com), was built for an Italian duchess, and still offers butler service. Slightly larger but still exclusive, Paraiso de la Bonita (www.paraisodelabonita.com) has one of the region’s best spas. The Fairmont Mayakoba (www.fairmont.com/mayakoba), host to Mexico’s first PGA tournament in February 2007, may be capacious but service never suffers. Log on to www.rivieramaya.com or phone 877-7GOMAYA for details.
telescope for peering at migrating whales in winter; and the hacienda-style Casa del Mar (www.casadelmarmexico.com), with its Euro-chic Spa Chakra. Alternatively, get attuned to the gentle rhythms of small town Mexico at Casa Natalia (www.casanatalia.com), an inn as colorful and charming as San Jose del Cabo itself.
Paraiso de la Bonita photo via KWE Group
Below, left: Awestruck visitors gaze as Mexico’s Pacific Coast warmly welcomes the yearly visit of migrating gray whales.
See www.visitloscabos.org or call 866-LOS-CABOS for general tourism information; for activities, log onto www.loscabosguide.com.
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SEVERAL HUNDRED FEET DOWN UNDER
Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
Photo courtesy of Tammy Peluso
By Julie Sturgeon
guidebooks assume visitors to Australia’s city of Cairns have arrived to experience the Great Barrier Reef. After all, it’s the international attraction that enables this seaside region to generate 5.1 billion tourism dollars annually.
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Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
Opposite: Scuba diving isn’t necessary to view many of the wonders of “The Reef.” Here, mere feet below the water’s surface, beautiful fish and coral warmly greet a snorkeling family.
Opposite, inset: A family of clown fish relaxes amidst the relative safety of the coral. Above: Covering a wide variety of terrain, from open fields to rainforest to the city of Cairns, a balloon tour is a great way to see some more of your host city.
But real tourists know that Cairns offers far more adventures than merely underwater swimming. And our group of six – four adults whose ties go back as far as middle school, plus two kids (one a middleschooler himself) – was determined not to leave any adventure untouched. Our motto: to investigate what lay several hundred feet in all directions. We couldn’t think of a better way to start the day than to report before 5 a.m. in Mareeba for a hot-air balloon ride over the Cairns Highlands. Folks will tell you that watching the massive balloons inflate is definitely part of the experience, but with the sun beginning to peek out and our adrenaline flowing in anticipation, it instead felt slow and irksome. It took climbing into the basket and floating gently several hundred feet above the remnants of fog clinging to the tablelands to encourage the mix of excitement and relaxation we sought. Ballooning is, of course, about the scenery, so even travelers who have floated over French chateaus in
the Loire Valley or lofted above the Arizona desert will find this a totally different ride. Peering over the reinforced wicker basket to watch kangaroos hopping across the fields jolts you into remembering you’re not in Kansas anymore. And remember, what goes up must come down – and then help the crew stuff hundreds of thousands of yards of balloon back into the basket for transport. They’ll feed you a hearty meatand-eggs breakfast in exchange for the assistance – oh, and for that tour fee you paid up front as well. Plunging down grade three white-water rapids ranked next on our fast-track exploration list. Warning: Choose your vendor carefully, lest you, too, find yourself hiking through a dense rainforest carrying your rubber two-man kayak and acquiring leeches along the way. At least you hope that’s as wild as it gets – guides love to spend the hike time to the Russell River launching point plying their group with stories of Australia’s cassowary bird, the avian creature powerful enough to frighten American and Australian troops during World War II. Stumble upon one of 83
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these flightless animals, known to hang out in northern climes, and it’s likely to attack with its 5-inch-long razorsharp claws. These weapons earned the cranky creature its infamous listing in The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most dangerous bird.
Aussies have insurance rules they must follow like anyone else in the world, so children under the age of 13 typically are out of luck with the white-water rafting option. Horseback riding, however, offers the perfect alternative for younger tykes. The terrain varies, and depending on the stable you choose, you can either wind through mountainous trails or run along the shore, splashing in the waves with your new equine buddy. Some tour operators will gladly guide you through
Photos courtesy of The Kuranda Scenic Railway
On the upside, such a trek on the uptake makes a plunge down a river seem rather tame, so take this gamble and spend the day rafting if anyone in your crowd is feeling chicken of the sea.
the rainforest, where horses stand a better chance of running from a cassowary than humans do. Do listen carefully to the guide’s instructions, however, as he or she will point out poisonous flora to avoid rubbing up against during your half-day ride. Most stables allow visitors to take a stab at cantering or even galloping should your mood and the topography
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Photos courtesy of Cairns City Council
cooperate. If you’re truly broken into the saddle, consider carving out two days for a genuine camp-out, complete with sleeping on the ground in a swag (translation: sleeping bag) and boiling your billy (ahem, making a cup of coffee) over an open fire the next morning.
Of course, the more permanent shops also dangle a wealth of things to stimulate the eyes. Opals hold court at every jewelry counter in Cairns, so take your time selecting the design that best expresses your personality. Owners are typically more than happy to explain the variety of pearls on display as well.
No matter how long you ride, stable owners are eager to ply you with a copious barbeque lunch, and they promise to cook the burgers just the way you request. Understand, though, that if you give them free rein, they’ll do it up Australian style and slap a beet between your beef and bun. Guides are usually also willing to give you a crack at roping tricks and boomerang tosses. (Don’t let their laughter fool you – a majority of tourists don’t get the hang of it during their stay.)
By far, the most unique item to try is Australia’s didgeridoo, a wind instrument from which natives can coax a tune in any key from D to F sharp. Our own musical attempts, on the other hand, yielded nothing more than blaring, what-key-was-that? Bronx cheers. The ornate and intricate Aboriginal artwork alone make these prize possessions worth shipping back home, however, they also make excellent props for the kids’ show-and-tell sessions down the road.
Cool Down When traveling in a group, adventure lies around every corner, even if you’re simply ambling down the sidewalk for a few blocks to grab an ice cream bar. Cairns’ colorful Esplanade Markets, held every Saturday near the lagoon, hold a treasure trove of secrets to uncover. Here, a few hundred feet means the difference between stopping to listen to a local band or giving in to the temptation for an airbrush tattoo or a massage to erase the horseback-riding kinks.
If walking without commercial temptation suits you best, head for the Cairns Foreshore Promenade at the Playground on the Minnie Street corner of the Esplanade. Here you may take advantage of a boardwalk suspended over the mudflats. Pedestrians use this paved runway as their spot for bird-watching as they meander toward the swimming lagoon and wharfs at Trinity Inlet. Interpretive modules along the way feature interactive touchscreens and give visitors an insight into the cultural and environmental heritage surrounding the section they are strolling. Be sure to stop at the Memorial Gardens and the 1956 Olympic Torch Bearers Monument.
Opposite: A great feat of modern engineering, the Kuranda Scenic Railway snakes through the dewy splendor of the Daintree Rainforest. Above: The Esplanade Markets is where retail and art meet. Here you’ll find a wide array of local produce and specialties (left) alongside whimsical, intriguing artworks like “The Herd” (pictured at right), representative of migrating whales. It is a favorite among tourists and inhabitants alike. 85
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against their toes instead. The color saturation of the sky, flora, sand, and water alone at this spot beside the Coral Sea is enough to lift the soul.
Photo courtesy of leonardo.com Photo courtesy of leonardo.com
And what Mother Nature and a good book can’t provide in the relaxation department, the Eastern-influenced spa a few hundred feet from the beach can. Voted this decade’s second best Overseas Hotel Spa in Australasia & South Pacific by Conde Nast Traveller’s readers, the Angsana Spa convinced the ladies in our party to try a tomato body wrap created to release the
Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
An abundance of colorful and whimsical art is positioned throughout Cairns. At the lagoon, a galvanized steel sculpture of fish posted high above the water’s surface glistens in the sun. Nearby, “The Herd,” granite sculptures that represent a whale herd heading out to sea, also has a fan base. Even the seats at the barbeque pits feature the mosaic tile work of artist Peter Thompson. Concrete sculptures of bright-hued fish serve as playground equipment at Muddy’s Regional Playground, and are surrounded by hand-carved totems done by budding artists.
We found that wandering several hundred feet outside the city limits takes you to the Kuranda Scenic Railway. This old-fashioned railway runs 34 kilometers (approximately 21 miles) outside Cairns to the Kuranda Village, which has transformed itself from the famous alternative village our parents knew to a retreat for sophisticated dining, exotic handcrafted art, Tjapukai (Djabugay) aboriginal shows, and nature attractions. Hiking the lush trail to Barron Falls is an absolute must during your visit. We were just as thrilled to walk the beach alongside our resort, letting the waves wash over our toes and erase the marks of our presence as we ventured forward. Frankly, sand is sand and oceans are oceans around the world, but still, it’s a rare location that can convince people to give up an afternoon or two of baking their bones in the sun to feel the healing relaxation of sand pushing
impurities from our skin. Guests today have a difficult choice among the ginseng baths, jasmine and frangipani salt scrubs, green tea revivals, and creamy banana wraps recently added to the services menu. While here, check out the range of massage techniques including Thai, Ayurvedic, Hawaiian, Balinese, and the spa’s own signature strokes to bring your body in line with your sense of adventure.
The Main Event Finally, the day dawned when it was time to head to Port Arthur to visit the operator we had chosen to take us out to the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has granted approximately 820 permits to tourism operators in 2007, which total 1,500 vessels and aircraft. Under
Left: Tjapukai Aboriginal ceremonies like the one seen here often draw curious tourists. In these shows, regularly occurring in the Esplanade Markets, you can gain great insight into the millennia-old traditions of the Australian natives. Right: The worldrenowned Angsana Spa can help iron out some of the kinks created by the many adventurous activities that Cairns has to offer.
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the watchful eye of the GBRMPA and its responsible reef practices rules, folks are welcome to fish, snorkel, scuba dive, yacht, indulge in motorized watersports, and collect shells. Because of the children in our party and our flight schedules, we passed over the more involved scuba lessons and tanks in favor of the more universal snorkeling option. We knew, while strapping on our goggles and sliding on the fins, that many experts consider this spot to be the most spectacular reef in the world, but as city dwellers, our practical knowledge of this new world we were about to peek into was shamefully lacking. It didn’t matter though. Australia’s underworld is as colorful as its topside – it was a mesmerizing glimpse at a tranquil world that exists far outside meetings, sales projection charts, and tee times. While Cairns lies more than a 20-hour plane ride away from our daily routine, the memories remain just a few hundred feet away.
Watch Your Ecological Step The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority encourages visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, and its rules are far from onerous: • Check that you are weighted correctly before diving and practice buoyancy control away from coral and reef animals. • If you are a beginner, practice snorkeling techniques away from coral and dive over sand until you have mastered buoyancy control. • Secure dragging diving equipment such as secondary regulators and gauges. • Do not rest or stand on coral. • Avoid hovering over or leaning on corals when taking underwater photographs. • If you need to rest while snorkeling, try to use rest stations where provided. • Avoid touching anything with your fins and try not to stir up sediment or disturb coral. • Observe animals rather than handle them. Handling some animals may be dangerous. • Do not chase or attempt to ride or grab free-swimming animals. Avoid blocking their path. • Do not touch, poke, or prod any plants or animals. • If you pick up anything underwater, living or dead, return it to the exact position where you found it. • All divers and snorkelers should be aware that it is a legal offence in the Marine Park to damage or remove coral.
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The Red Arrow Race An Italian Rite of Spring
By Jan Tegler
On a gorgeous morning last May, we turned a corner in the birthplace of this rally on its opening day and
Photos by Jan Tegler unless otherwise noted
takes 10 minutes to be romanced by it, three full days to understand it, and, for many, a lifetime to get it out of one’s system. This fabled event, this Italian rite of spring, overwhelms you – visually, aurally, and atmospherically. It is the famed Mille Miglia, and this May the event will celebrate its 80th anniversary. To describe it with words alone is impossible. One has to see it, breathe it, and live it in person to grasp it. Alas, the opportunity to do so is rare, so we’ll try to do the race justice and invite you to be “co-piloti” as we motor through the atmosphere, history, and charm that is the Mille Miglia.
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stepped into magic. All day under the brilliant Brescian sun, we waded through hundreds of automotive treasures undergoing scrutineering – the final inspection and approval process before the rally. Having a vague idea of what to expect at such an event doesn’t work here. It takes time to appreciate. But shortly before 9 p.m. that evening, comprehension met delight at one famous focal point – the historic wooden starting ramp in the Viale Venezia. We were witnessing the start of the 24th running of the modern Mille Miglia, a revival of the legendary race that has itself become a classic. At the start ramp before us, the co-president of Chopard, the Swiss luxury watch and jewelry manufacturer, blips the throttle of the silver 1955 Porsche 550 RS he is driving and powers to the top of the ramp. The number 1-9-5 stands out on a white disc on the Porsche’s door, indicating that his car is 195th in the starting order for the race. His name is Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, and he is teamed in this legendary competition with a legendary co-driver, ex-Formula One pilot and six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Jacky Ickx. But Ickx is not present alongside Scheufele as the car crests the ramp. Flashbulbs explode when the Porsche comes to a halt. Every competitor crossing the stage this evening has received rapt attention, but none more so than the Swiss executive and his “guest” co-driver. Ickx has been replaced, for the time being, by Czech supermodel Eva Herzigova. Herzigova happens to be an ambassadress for Chopard, and the
opportunity to place her in the right seat, even if temporarily, garners such publicity that it cannot be passed up. It’s the power of the Mille Miglia. The race draws stars – both automobiles and people. After several minutes in a fishbowl of lights, paparazzi, and spectators, the race officials count down the pairing and give the signal to start. Herr Scheufele heeds the order and puts the 550 RS in gear. With a wave and a bright smile from Herzigova, the duo motor down the start ramp and blast off down a half-mile-long corridor of cheering Brescians into the night. This is but one of a thousand scenes that take place on the opening day of the race. A parade of the most delicious, significant, and priceless automobiles on the planet top the start ramp driven by a raft of notables from the worlds of racing, sports, entertainment, fashion, and business. The famous symbol that is the emblem of this spectacle, the Red Arrow or Freccia Rossa, points the way. The cars competing are those that would have raced in the original Mille Miglia between 1927 and 1957, and the fortunate, feverishly excited crews driving them stand on the shoulders of giants. To understand their passion for this classic, and to comprehend the Mille Miglia’s significance, requires us to look back, even as the 375 entrants put the first of 1,000 miles under their wheels in the Italian darkness.
Opposite: Chopard co-president KarlFriedrich Scheufele and Chopard ambassadress and top model Eva Herzigova sit atop the Mille Miglia’s famous start ramp in the Viale Venezia in a 1955 Porsche 550 RS. Right: A 1955 Maserati 150S stands in line for scrutineering on the morning of the opening stage of the Mille Miglia. Behind is another Maserati. 89
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The driver of a 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Sport Spider patiently waits to move forward in line for inspection during the opening morning of the Mille Miglia in Brescia, Italy. 90
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Translated from Italian, “Mille Miglia” simply means “1,000 Miles.” The distance was chosen by four men from the northern Italian city of Brescia. Counts Aymo Maggi and Franco Mazzotti along with Renzo Castagneto and Giovanni Canestrini came together in late 1926 to plan a race they hoped would capture the imagination of the Italian public. Maggi and Mazotti in particular were keen racers and, like fellow Brescians, considered their city the birthplace of Italian motorsport. They were outraged in 1922 when the Italian Grand Prix was moved from Brescia to Milan. They sought an event that would at once bring glory back to Brescia and test man and machine as no other contemporary competition had – a race that would improve the breed. The format would be different from the Grand Prix now hosted by their Milanese rivals. Taking inspiration from the city-to-city races popular at the turn of the century, they
opted for a road race that would cover much of the Italian peninsula – from Brescia to Rome and back. It would be run flat-out over a distance of 1,600 kilometers. The driver with the lowest elapsed time would be the victor. Recently returned from a trip to the United States, Mazzotti began brainstorming to devise the name of their new race. He realized that 1,600 kilometers was roughly equal to 1,000 miles – mille miglia. It rolled off the tongue neatly and the “Coppa Mille Miglia” was born. Seventy-seven racers rolled over the start ramp in the Viale Venezia on March 26, 1927, for the first Mille Miglia. Italy’s leading car makers were among them (Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Brescia’s own O.M. – Officine Meccaniche). The race was won by Brescian locals Ferdinando “Nando” Minoia and co-driver Giuseppe Morandi in an O.M. Tipo 665 Superba, finishing early on the morning of the 27th in 21 hours, 48 minutes, and 48 seconds at an average speed of 48.27 mph. It was a popular victory, and the race was a rousing success. Continued on page 92
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Chasing The Mille Miglia
Stay, Sup, and See
One of the many magical things about the Mille Miglia is that for every lucky participant in the 1,000-mile race there are thousands more by the roadside witnessing the spectacle. The view from behind the wheel is incomparable but those who see the treasures of the Mille Miglia pass by en-masse gain a broader perspective. In fact, the race can be just as involving for spectators as it is for participants. But where to go? Where to watch? What to eat? The choices are overwhelming so we offer three options – Brescia, Ferrara, Bologna. Brescia A full day of wonders awaits anyone who travels to Brescia to see the start of the Mille Miglia. From the sound of exotic engines that awaken the town early in the morning to the stunning scene at the start ramp, there is no better place to feel the pulse of the race. Keep in mind, the attendance for the race here and elsewhere is such that booking well in advance is essential. Here are a few hotels and restaurants. Hotel Best Western Master, Via Luigi Apolloni 72 – 25128 Brescia. Located near the historical center of town, near the 16th century Castello, the hotel was refurbished in 2005 and features comfortable rooms. Average room rate – 142 euros, $206. Hotel Santellone Resort, Via del Santellone 116 – 25132 Brescia. Located near the city center, it combines the tranquility of an exclusive setting, an ancient abbey from near the year 1000, which has been restored to its former glory. Nice rooms and good service. Average room rate – 155 euros, $221. Una Hotel Brescia, Viale Europa 45 – 25133 Brescia. Located two kilometers from the city with welcoming and elegant interiors and reasonably priced. Average double room rate – 91 euros, $158.
Da Girelli Benedetto, Via Nazionale, 17 – 25070 Barghe (Brescia). Tel: 0365/84140. Type: Regional, Price: $$ ($moderate, $$-more expensive, $$$-expensive) Il Labirinto, Via Corsica, 224 – 25125 Brescia. Tel: 030/3541607. Type: Traditional, Price: $$$ Ristorante La Sosta, Via S. Martino della Battaglia, 20 – 25121 Brescia. Tel. 030/295603. Type: Lombardian Specials, Price: $$ Ferrara A position by the road in Ferrara late at night is worth its weight in gold. See the racing machines of the Mille arrive
with lights blazing. It’s a dramatic scene and a party. Here are some hotels and restaurants to try. Hotel Annunziata, Piazza Repubblica 5 – 44100 Ferrara. A well-designed hotel with 24 rooms not far from the city center. Average room rate. 187 euros, $254. Hotel San Paolo, Via Baluardi 9 – 44100 Ferrara. A clean comfortable place within easy walking distance of most points of interest. Average room rate – 95 euros, $129. Hotel Europa, Corso Giovecca 49 – 44100 Ferrara. Slightly small rooms but a good location downtown. Average room rate – 127 euros, $173.
L’Oca Giuliva, Via Boccanale di Santo Stefano 38 – 44100 Ferrara. Tel. 0532/207628 Type: Regional, Price: $$ Aldobrando, Corso Porta Mare 45 – 44100 Ferrara. Tel. 0532/752648. Type: Traditional, Price: $$ Quel Fantastico Giovedì, Via Castelnuovo 9 – 44100 Ferrara. Tel. 0532/760570. Type: Traditional, Price: $$ Bologna Situated just north of the Apennine Mountains, Bologna is a great place from which to launch for a quick trip down to the Passo Della Raticosa or the Passo Della Futa. Watch and listen as the cars charge over the mountains on the grueling final stage of the race. Savhotel Bologna, Via F. Parri 9 – 40128 Bologna. Located a few minutes from city center, modern, efficient and reasonable. Average room rate – 78 euros, $106. Grand Hotel Baglioni, Via Indipendenzia 8 – 40121 Bologna. A five star, top class hotel, overlooking Via Indipendenzia, a stone’s throw from the Piazza Maggiore. Average room rate – 304 euros, $414. Holiday Inn Bologna - Via Emilia, Via Marco Emilio Lepido 203/214 – 40132 Bologna. Located at the entrance of Bologna near the A1 Autostrada del Sole and the city ring road. Average room rate – 250 euros ($340) for double room.
Diana, Via Indipendenza 24 – 40121 Bologna. Tel: 051/231302. Type: Bolognese Cuisine, Price: $$ Pappagallo, Piazza della Mercanzia 3 – 40125 Bologna. Tel: 051/232807. Type: Authentic Italian, Price: $$ Trattoria Fantoni, Via del Pratello 11a – 40122 Bologna. Tel: 051/236358. Type: Varied Italian, Price: $ 91
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The Mille grew over the next 30 years far beyond what its founders imagined. A long list of famous racing drivers from Nuvolari and Ascari to Fangio and Moss competed. Every year more automotive manufacturers and component makers put their innovations to the test, honing their machines and devices in the Mille Miglia. Among the advancements the Mille Miglia spurred were improvements in carburetion, fuel consumption, ignition, spark plugs, starter motors, headlights, brakes, windshield wipers, and, with the 1955 race, the debut of fuel injection. These enhancements, developed and tested on the racing machines taking part in the Red Ar-
row Race, soon made their way to mass-production vehicles. As none other than Enzo Ferrari noted, we have the Mille Miglia to thank for the class of sports touring cars known as “Gran Tourismo” or GT cars. The stir caused in Italy by the new long-distance contest cannot be overstated. In the prewar and immediate postwar eras, the race was an expression of freedom and glamour during a time of political oppression and depressed economics. Before television existed in any meaningful way, the Mille Miglia was the only sporting event that could actually be seen by a significant portion of Italy’s population. Towns vied for the opportunity of having the race pass through their centers. The thousands of spectators who lined the incomplete network of poorly maintained dirt roads over which the competition first ran saw their national transportation system improve as the government and municipalities paved existing paths and actually created new roads specifically for the Freccia Rossa. The Mille Miglia was a colorful diversion, an entertainment for the average Italian struggling to make ends meet, and it captured their imagination. Brescians gathered in the center of town once the racers roared off, waiting for news. Large notice boards gave updates on the competitors as telegrams arrived and the occasional
phone call came from out along the course. Speculation ran rampant as fans tried to envision what was taking place. While the vast majority could only dream of what was happening, it was a vivid and often dangerous adventure for those taking part. The rapid rise in the popularity of the Mille Miglia was matched only by the pace of development of the machines entered in the contest. As speeds and the number of contestants increased, so too did the crowds surging along the highways. Securing 1,000 miles of racecourse over public roads would be a considerable challenge today. At a time when the resources available to
undertake such an effort were all but non-existent and when safety was largely an afterthought, it was inevitable that sooner or later trouble would result. The first tragedy to visit the Mille Miglia occurred in 1939 when a Lancia careened out of control in Bologna, killing 10 spectators, including seven children. The next year the 1,000-mile race was banned and a truncated nine-lap competition (the Gran Premio di Brescia) over a 104mile course was run. Conflict overtook Italy and the rest of Europe for the next five years, and it wasn’t until 1947 that the Mille Miglia resumed. As before, it was a flat-out competition. But in the wake of technological leaps brought about by World War II, speeds reached new heights. In 1955, famed British driver Stirling Moss paired with motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson in one of three incredible new 300 SLRs entered by Mercedes. Well over 5 million spectators saw “Moss and Jenks” scorch the roads of the Mille Miglia, finishing the race in 10 hours, 7 minutes, 48 seconds at an amazing average speed of 98 mph, the all-time record. Moss credited Jenkinson with their success, the latter having devised a system of pace notes via symbols written on a roll of paper wound between two rollers in an aluminum box. Jenkinson’s notes, made during practice runs before the race, enabled the duo to negotiate blind corners, dangerous bumps, and
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series of bends at maximum speed. Modern versions of the system pioneered by Jenks are still in use today by teams in the World Rally Championship. Impressive as the 1955 record was, the 160 mph speeds achieved by the top racers were harrowing. In 1957, one team and 10 spectators would perish when a Ferrari 290S careened into a crowd in the town of Guidizzolo at 180 mph. It was the end for the Red Arrow Race. The Italian government put a stop to racing on public roads. Though modified versions of the classic were tried in 1958, 1959, and 1960, the flat-out 1,000mile test was finished.
Left to right across spread: The special hand controls fitted to the cockpit of the 1957 BMW 507 driven by racing legend Alex Zanardi. The neatly packaged straight-six cylinder engine of a Jaguar D-Type. The emblem of the Red Arrow Race is everywhere, even on the helmets of the competitors. The business end of a 1951 Ferrari 212 Berlinetta. The extremely rare 1927 BNC 527 Monza of the Italian team of Bonizolli and Bonizolli. The fluted exhaust of a 1935 Aston Martin Ulster driven by South Carolinian Dick Schultze.
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Down the start ramp and through a half-mile-long corridor of cheering fans, cars #1 through #375 roar into the darkness. The festivities at the start last more than three hours. It’s a nationally televised spectacle, a night out for local Brescians and for the thousands of automotive enthusiasts who come from around the world to Brescia to witness the finest rolling collection of cars on the planet spring into action. The cheering doesn’t stop once we leave Brescia, however. Out on the roads, thousands more stand in the darkness, straining to see the classics flash past, headlamps ablaze. The towns of Bussolengo, Verona, and Ostiglia are transited before the first stage ends in Ferrara late that night. In each municipality, waves of people come out to see the priceless parade. The Mille Miglia was sorely missed by Italians after its demise. Brescians in particular lamented its absence from their yearly calendar. “The most beautiful race in the world,” as it was often referred to, had become a rite of spring and a claim to fame for the northern Italian city. In 1977, the Automobile Club of Brescia decided a commemoration celebrating the 50th anniversary of the race was in order. Over the next five years, a small group of Brescians planned a revival of the Red Arrow
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Race. The revival Mille Miglia would honor the original, running from Brescia to Rome and back over public roads. But the nature of the competition would be different. The new race would be a “regularity test.” Contested over three stages (Brescia to Ferrara, Ferrara to Rome, Rome to Brescia), the modern event is a timespeed-distance rally. Competitors must complete each stage as a whole as well as regularity tests (covering a short specified distance in a specified time, for example) embedded in the stages in targeted times, governed by the class in which their car races. The closer a competitor comes to matching the targeted times, the more points are accumulated. The overall winner is the team with the fewest deviations in time and therefore the highest number of points. Navigation is the second part of the challenge. Competitors receive “roadbooks” prior to each stage. The volumes contain diagrams, illustrated by rudimentary direction markings, symbols, place names, the occasional photograph, and distance indicators marking the distance between diagrams and the total distance covered at any point on a stage. Racers who’ve done the Mille Miglia before may be familiar with some of the routes, but changes are made from year to year, so good navigation is crucial for achieving target times. For those new to the event it’s all very confusing, but through trial and error and with help from fellow participants, even first-timers can find the finish line. More than 150 classics lined up for the start of the first revival in 1982. The new version was open to automobiles crafted between 1927 and 1957, the period of the original Mille Miglia and one of the greatest eras of
automotive history. Many were presented by manufacturers who had participated in the original race. Famous drivers, celebrities, and journalists from all over Europe converged on Brescia. The event was a great success, capturing the spirit of the original and the imagination of a new generation of enthusiasts. In 1987 it became a yearly ritual once again. Twenty years later, it is more stunning than ever, the finest vintage car rally in the world. Today, the Mille Miglia is supremely select. Participation is limited to 375 entrants, but hundreds more apply annually to be “invited” to race. Only the finest, most relevant machines are accepted. Entry fees are high, and the cost and effort required to participate are considerable, but the experience more than rewards competitors. Once the Freccia Rossa virus is caught, many participants cannot resist racing year after year. International participants are among them. The majority of the racers are Italian, but entrants from across Europe, North and South America, and Asia are present in abundance. In 2006, 28 American teams entered. We came across South Carolinian Dick Schultze at the wheel of his rakish 1935 Aston Martin Ulster (one of only 20 existing) out on the road to Rome. Joined by first-timer Gordon Gale, the pair were soaking up the experience at speed. It was Schultze’s fifth appearance in the Red Arrow Race, and he explained what draws him back. “We love it! The energy of the crowds and the enthusiasm is infectious. For enthusiasts, no other place in the world has this kind of collection out on the roads. We have no chance of winning, but we’re not in it for that.
Left: The Mille Miglia was contested by rakish sports cars and more humble coupes and sedans alike. Here, a 1948 Fiat 1100 S MM crouches on the cobblestones of Brescia. Right: Members of the Automobile Club of Brescia, among the most traditional participants in the race, make sure their papers and car, a 1935 Singer Le Mans, are in order.
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Schultze’s approach to the Mille Miglia is shared by many fellow racers. In fact, the race has been humorously referred to as a kind of “food and wine tour.” The Italian countryside is so lovely and the national fare so delicious, who could blame anyone for taking this approach? To be sure, however, one must drive rather rapidly and almost constantly to be classified at the end of each day’s stage. It’s the kind of challenge, particularly in these vintage cars, that gives one an appreciation for how skilled the racing drivers of the past must have been. Nevertheless, it is exhilarating for those who take a relaxed approach or the experienced Mille Miglia participants who treat the race seriously, practicing for months in advance, learning every nuance of the regularity tests.
In fabulous Rome, outside our hotel, we came across a gorgeous BMW 507. But it was no ordinary 507. The normal steering wheel was missing, replaced by a modern racing yoke with special controls. Then we glanced at the pilots’ names on the front fender – “Marco Saltalamacchia and Alessandro Zanardi.” “Alex” Zanardi, as he is known in the United States, is one of the world’s most famous racing drivers. A champion in America in the CART Indycar series and an ex-Formula One driver, Zanardi now competes with BMW in the World Touring Car Championship, driving a BMW 3-Series racecar modified with special hand controls for throttle, brakes, and gearchange. Critically injured in an Indycar race in Germany in 2001, Zanardi lost both legs but has rebounded to race again professionally. In 2005, he was a co-driver in his first Mille Miglia. Last year he piloted the 507, causing a sensation everywhere the race went. The adoring crowds we waded through in his presence attested to the high regard in which this national hero is held.
The dash between towns and cities with names like Ravenna, San Marino, Leonessa, Siena, Firenze, Bologna, Modena, and Cremona is a sensual feast, feeling the speed of one’s own machine and watching other precious pieces of history working, being driven as they were meant to be driven through corners, down long, flowing straights, and up mountain switchbacks. In the towns, every car is a wonder and local officials and residents alike fawn over the participants. The attention is flattering, imbuing each racer with the feeling of celebrity – that is until a real star is spotted.
The team of Giuliano Cane and his wife, Lucia Galliani, triumphed for the ninth time, winning overall in their 1938 BMW 328 MM. We cruised to a finishing place much, much further back, but the experience of the Mille Miglia – the sights, sounds, and fellowship – were our reward. It is an unforgettable experience. The Freccia Rossa virus has infected us, and with luck we’ll be back this May to enjoy this Italian rite of spring. Even if you attend simply as a spectator, you will be infected too. Think about it. All signs point to the Red Arrow Race.
We don’t even carry stopwatches. We follow the guidebook and the crowd. The competitors are very congenial, and we’re careful to stay out of the way of those that are clearly trying to engage in the regularity tests.”
The husband and wife team of Giuliano Cane and Lucia Galiani won the 2006 Mille Miglia. It was their ninth victory, marking them as one of the most successful teams in Mille Miglia history.
Photo courtesy of Mille Miglia Press Office
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Photo courtesy of Tucker’s Point Club
Above: The Beach Club at Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. Fractional owners at this property automatically become members of the Beach Club. Left: Bachelor Gulch, a Ritz-Carlton Private Residence Club on Beaver Creek Mountain in Colorado.
Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Club
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Own a Slice of Ideal Vacation Fractional Ownership of Luxury Vacation Residences By Vera Marie Badertscher
icture yourself returning to your ski-in condo in Colorado as the snow gently begins to fall, or shaking the water off your wet suit after scuba diving in the Caribbean. You turn to your companion and say, “If we bought a house here, we could spend endless amounts of time in the place we love most.” If we had a soundtrack, at this point the background music would screech and jump as someone turned the power off. The reality of secondhome ownership may not quite live up to the dream. In fact, people with vacation homes average fewer than five weeks a year of usage, according to Richard Ragatz, head of Ragatz Associates, who specializes in vacation-home research. Yet the responsibilities continue all year. People who want a special place to vacation with their family or friends in a highly desirable vacation spot, but do not want the burden of year-round ownership,
have spurred the growth of a new concept – fractional ownership of luxury vacation residences. What are fractionals? What should you consider when purchasing one? We talked to several experts and owners to find some answers and to bring you examples from luxurious apartments to trophy mansions, many with 24-hour pampering by attentive staff.
Definitions Fractional Real Estate. Private Residence Clubs. Destination Clubs. Fractional Estate Ownership Clubs™. For an industry that is only about 12 years old, fractional ownership has spawned a lot of terminology. Basically, fractional ownership covers a deeded portion (commonly 1/12, but ranging from 1/2 to 1/24) of any type of residence. Owners can use a certain number of days each year, and in most cases can swap for other properties developed by the same company. 99
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4HIS ADVERTISEMENT IS INTENDED TO ENCOURAGE THE SALE OF 4HE 2ESIDENCE #LUB AT 0RONGHORN 6ILLA #ONDOMINIUMS A LUXURY VACATION HOME OFFERING AVAILABLE IN SHARED OWNERSHIP INTERESTS CLASSIFIED BY SOME STATESÂµ LEGISLATION AS A VACATION OWNERSHIP OR TIMESHARE PRODUCT 4HIS IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION TO BUY WHERE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN FULFILLED !S THIS IS A MULTI PHASED DEVELOPMENT CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION OCCUPANCY DATES MAY VARY )NITIAL OCCUPANCY *ULY ! FULL EXPLANATION OF 4HE 2ESIDENCE #LUB AT 0RONGHORN MAY BE FOUND IN THE (OMEOWNERS !SSOCIATION DOCUMENTS %QUAL (OUSING /PPORTUNITY .7 7ALL 3TREET "END /2
Some come with additional features like country club membership or a yacht. The fractional owner can sell or pass on his deed in his estate. The deed differentiates fractional ownership from the older concept of timeshares or the luxury Destination Clubs, which sell portions of time rather than property. In addition to the purchase price, owners pay an assessment to cover maintenance and management as in any homeowner’s association.
The infinity pool at Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas. Owners at Capella Pedregal receive personalized service from attentive staff.
In the early ‘90s, developers first planned fractional sales at the Deer Valley Club in Utah and Franz Klammer Lodge in Colorado. David Disick and his partners opened the ski resort Franz Klammer Lodge in Telluride in 1996. Fairmont Resorts now operates the lodge. Twelve years ago, while working on the project, Disick coined a phrase to explain what he was doing: “You can have the same realistic use you would make of a comparable quality whole-ownership home for a fraction of the price, plus five-star services and amenities.” As a measure of the concept’s success, a report issued in March 2007 by Ragatz Associates says, “It is estimated that total sales volume in the shared-ownership
resort industry in 2006 was $2.1 billion.” Ragatz limited this report to North American, Caribbean, and Mexican sales. The report adds, “It is estimated that 40,000 households have purchased shared-ownership resort real estate. This represents about one percent of all households in the U.S. with incomes over $200,000 (the assumed income-eligibility at this time).” It indicates that the industry will continue to grow. The developers are responding to an enthusiastic market. Ragatz, founder of the Eugene, Oregon-based research company, says that, “In measuring satisfaction ratio, we have found it to be extremely high – 95 percent in the five major Private Residence Clubs.” Although most Private Residence Clubs make exchanges available at other properties in their chain, Jamie Cheng, a founder of the luxury buyers’ guide Helium Report (www.heliumreport.com) says, “The fundamental difference is you make that decision [to buy a fractional] because you love that [specific] place and you want to travel there most often.“ Allan Hurwitz, reached at his vacation home in Aspen Highlands, personifies Cheng’s definition. He describes Continued on page 104
Photo courtesy of Capella Pedregal
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“I don’t believe in timeshares,” Hurwitz, a real estate investor, says. “They aren’t a good investment in any way, shape, or form. And I didn’t want to buy a full-time condo. I did not want to spend that kind of money and I did not want to be obligated to be here that long. So this had a definite attraction,” he says. “Since then I think it is one of the better things I’ve done in my life.” Sherman Potvin, one of the pioneers in the business, now consults with developers and buyers and runs the Web site Luxury Fractional Guide (lfguide.com). He illustrates why fractional ownership has become one of the fastest-growing segments of real estate with a story from his early days as a salesman. “A couple owned a ski-in, ski-out home and Ritz-Carlton was building their sales office at Beaver Creek. That couple came in with their three boys and said, ‘I understand you are building a fractional?’ ‘We are but we’re not ready,’ said the salesperson. ‘Well, I want to leave our name because we want to purchase two fractions. We own a home here. We have it for sale. It is costing us nearly $10,000 a year to own, and we can come out only two weeks a year or three.’” “So they sold,” says Potvin, “for $5.5 million. They made $3-4 million. They paid $650,000 for two
fractions at Beaver Creek (a Ritz-Carlton Private Residence Club). They took $4 million of their money and put it in investments.”
Photos courtesy of Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge
himself as a nester. A passionate skier, for 30 years he went to the same Austrian resort, before he started vacationing in Aspen. He and his wife and two children rented rooms at the Little Nell Hotel. It became very expensive to rent two or three hotel rooms every year, so when Ritz-Carlton opened Aspen Highlands, a Private Residence Club, he and his wife considered the option of fractional real estate.
For some people, the question “why buy a fractional?” comes down to an alternative to pricey hotel rooms. Ownership of property appeals to those who like the idea of possible appreciation of value and the ability to sell it if their lifestyle changes. Some, as in Potvin’s example, are looking for an alternative to owning an entire second home. And Cheng points out that a fractional allows you to live part-time in a place that might be unattainable otherwise. “These are very unique properties in popular places. How many places can you still build in Aspen?” he says.
Comparing the Vacation Options Private Residence Clubs Many Private Residence Clubs (PRCs) are co-located with luxury hotels. Four Seasons was the first major brand hotel to open a Private Residence Club, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They since have opened in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Costa Rica. Ritz-Carlton was second with St. Regis in Aspen and Manhattan soon after. Now Fairmont, Hyatt, Westin, and venerable resorts like Hilton Head and Homestead have joined the trend. Their operating models are similar. Beth Ridenour of Ritz-Carlton (ritzcarltonresidences.com) says her company, which opened their first PRC in Aspen in 2001, now runs four Residence Clubs, with 282 separate residences for the 3,000 people who own existing properties or fractions of coming developments. They will
This page: The Franz Klammer Lodge, opened in 1996 in Telluride, Colorado, was one of the first fractional offerings. The Lodge’s Himmel Spa Suite (below left) and the Club Room (below right) are pictured here. Opposite top: The Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands. Opposite bottom: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa, Jupiter in Florida.
Continued on page 107
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OWNER SALES Speaking of his Luxury Fractionals Guide Web site (www.lfguide.com), Sherman Potvin says, “We get an average of 8,000 new people to our Web site every month, and 67 percent of those, the first button they push is the private home button.” Overwhelmed by the inquires on the Web, he wrote a book, Fractionalize to Maximize: Dividing Your Vacation Home Into Profit. He says, “All the data shows that 81 percent of the vacation-home owners use their homes only three weeks a year. The rest of the time they try to rent it or it sits there and it drives them crazy.” Additionally, when the market is soft, this enables people to make money from their investment.
DESTINATION CLUBS Destination Clubs ask for a deposit, starting around $30,000, plus yearly five-figure annual dues of several thousand dollars. You get no deed, and only the developer can resell the property. Generally, you are promised an 80 percent to 90 percent refund if you want to leave, but in most cases, not until three new members sign on. All provide luxurious residences and services and multiple locations. Helium Report lists 25 Destination Clubs, four in the ultra-luxury category, with deposits of $550,000 to $3 million. Of the luxury category ($200,000 to $500,000), Exclusive Resorts is the largest, with 300 homes in 35 locations.
([SHULHQFH WKHGLIIHUHQFH From the secluded, luxurious, and spacious hillside villas with private sea-view terraces and plunge pools to the beach front activities, the amenities and services of this
Photos courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Club
exceptional St. Lucia resort will make
Portofino, a slightly smaller organization, was one of the first to offer Destination Club vacations. They offer what President Rance Rogers describes as 31 second homes instead of one, without the burden of maintenance. Like most Destination Clubs, Portofino makes available a variety of places such as New York City, Scottsdale, London, Venice, Florence, Florida, Mexico, or Hawaii, with only a handful of homes in each. “For every seven full members, we buy another property.” The 2007 Ragatz report says, “Approximately 5,000 members are in the 21 (Destination) clubs.”
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Oral representations cannot be relied upon as correctly stating the representations of the developer. For correct representations, make reference to documents required by Section 718.503 of the Florida Statutes to be furnished by the developer to a buyer or a lessee. This advertisement does not constitute an offer to sell real estate in New York or New Jersey or any jurisdiction where prior registration or other qualification is required and further information cannot be provided unless we have already complied with such requirements. Renderings are artistâ€™s conception.
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Photo courtesy of Tucker’s Point Club
The Tucker’s Point Golf Club House in Bermuda. Owners at Tucker’s Point gain membership at the Golf Club, Beach Club, and Tennis Club.
be opening five more by 2009, including their first urban offering, in San Francisco, before the end of 2007. Most of their residences offer 2,000-3,000 square feet with two-three bedrooms. The majority of the RitzCarlton properties are 1/12 interest, but the number of days may vary depending on location from 21 days to 28 days. For instance, an owner at Aspen of a 28day share gets seven days in the summer, 14 days in the winter, or vice versa. These days are pre-scheduled and the weeks available shift by one week each year so that all owners get a chance at the highly desirable weeks. Plus member/owners can use seven “shoulder” days any time there is space available at any of the RitzCarlton clubs in the world. Owner Hurwitz says, “Last year, when we left here, we went to St. Thomas and we loved it. We could not get back in this year. … And sometimes, the times are just lost – I haven’t used it all.”
Tucker’s Point in Bermuda demonstrates another model of PRC. Although it is a stand-alone club, it allies itself to others through The Elite Alliance, an agency that links fractionals so that members of one can have reciprocal rights in others. For Jason Bruhl, an American living in Great Britain, that right is just “icing on the cake.” He may visit the offerings in Florence or at a ski resort in the future, but for now his family enjoys the activities in Bermuda. The more than 50 residents of Tucker’s Point homes automatically become members of the Golf Club, Tennis Club, and the Beach Club. At the top of the market, David Disick’s first Chateaux Society (www.chateauxsociety.com) offering in Vail, Colorado, offers Chateau Faucon, a trophy home of 7,128 square feet. He says that owners will soon be “chateau hopping to St. Andrews in Scotland, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, and other top locations, where they will own part of $6-8 million estates.” Timeshares
Since owners pay a hefty annual homeowner’s fee for maintenance, many like to rent out their extra days, using an outside agency, in order to recoup some of their costs.
Although the laws that regulate developers are still the old timeshare laws, fractionals are not timeshares, which tend to attract mid-market rather than high-end buyers. 107
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Because of the increased level of service, some people refer to them as â€œtimeshares on steroids.â€? When confronted with the question, â€œArenâ€™t they all just timeshares?â€? Disick says, â€œA Quality Inn is a hotel. A Ritz-Carlton is a hotel. The fact they are both hotels is irrelevant. The question is, what is the qualitative level of the physical facility and the service?â€? Fractional real estate may fall under the legal term â€œtimeshare,â€? but there remains a world of difference. Destination Clubs Fractionals also differ from Destination Clubs, (see sidebar) which provide an arrangement more like a country club and the ability to visit multiple destinations around the world. Membership in a Destination