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Inspiring and Educating Sellers of Affluent Travel

www.luxurytraveladvisor.com

SMART FLYERS

Michael Holtz and Erina Pindar use social networks to enhance luxury’s allure

DESTINATIONS Monte-Carlo Malindi, Kenya

HOTELS

Mega-Suites Seoul’s Park Hyatt

CRUISE

Sailing Seabourn Port Calls: Rome & Venice

CULTURE WATCH

Europe’s Art Exhibits

APRIL 2013


The art of life

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destInAtIons 6

monTe-Carlo: Three hotel gems for summer fun on the Mediterranean by Ruthanne Terrero

10 magniFiCenT malindi, kenya:

Luxury

APRIL 2 0 13 www.luxurytraveladvisor.com

T r av e l a d v i s o r

A luxury retreat sporting Indian Ocean views by Pamela McCourt Francescone

HoteLs 14 mega SuiTeS: Three uber-luxe suites that will boggle the mind by Meagan Drillinger

20 Seoul in STyle: The Park Hyatt takes Korean culture up a notch by Andrew Conway

sPAs 26 laS VegaS SPaS: Posh playgrounds for VIP pampering by Jena Tesse Fox

CRuIses

The FairmonT monTe Carlo

30 Seabourn: We sailed the Caribbean on the Quest and have the 411. by Ruthanne Terrero

32 iTaly PorTS: The best of Rome and Venice on a short stay by Meagan Drillinger

CuLtuRe CALendAR 36 arT exhibiTS ThroughouT

euroPe: A wish list of must-visit art shows by Eileen O’Donnell Schlichting

CoveR stoRy 38 SmarTFlyer: Using social media to drive the next phase of luxury by Ruthanne Terrero

Park hyaTT Seoul

dePARtments

The royal reSidenCe SuiTe,

2

Publisher’s Letter

4

Editor’s Letter

VeniCe, an ideal port for europe cruises

interContinental danang Sun Peninsula

44 The Pulse

Bahamian Bliss: The Cove, Eleuthera Suite Life: Honua Kai’s Kamehameha

47 Sightings 48 Source List On the cover, SmartFlyer’s Michael Holtz and Erina Pindar at The Lowell Hotel Cover Photo By heidi Green

www.luxurytraveladvisor.com

APRIL 2013 | LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR

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Publisher’s letter

Luxury T r av e l a d v i s o r

Ultra Important

I

f you had a crystal ball and could look into the future, what would you see? What will our business look like down the road? I have been asking that question to a lot of luxury travel advisors lately. The answer is that no one has a clue and, frankly, I find that a bit scary. Another question I ask is, “How’s business?” The responses I get to that question are very mixed, but I have to say that I have discovered something fairly amazing in that process. Those advisors who are seeing soft bookings are the traditional agencies that haven’t adapted to the new way of doing business. What is the new way of doing business, you ask? I will get to that. The question is, are you a catcher or a pitcher? Is business coming to you or are you going out to get it? Historically, we’ve found that business is good when the S&P 500 is on the rise and household incomes are growing. But in today’s up-and-down markets, some people are making money while others are barely holding on. While five years ago, in a boom market, nearly everyone, particularly on Wall Street, was doing well, today it’s a mixed bag and you have to go that extra mile to find a person that has disposable income to spend on travel. Back to the new business strategy: The cruise business spends a lot of time focusing on first-time cruisers because inventory is growing and new ships can’t be filled simply with repeat clientele. Travel advisors need to have the same strategy. The average U.S. consumer using a travel advisor is aged 50-plus and the travel advisor is 50-plus as well. That’s both an opportunity and a challenge. I was recently at an event where one agency owner was begging me to help her find new blood for her travel agency. She knows she needs to find new advisors and is on a mission to transform her agency. She gets it. You all need to get it as well. Pictured here with me are Valerie Wilson and Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg of Valerie Wilson Travel, at a Make-a-Wish Wine Tasting that the agency sponsored to raise awareness among consumers who are currently not using a travel advisor. They get it, and are well on their way to that new model. This June, Luxury Travel Advisor’s Ultra Luxury Travel Exchange will bring the industry’s brightest minds together at one venue to draw on that new way of doing business and to create a clear vision for the future of luxury travel. Stay tuned.

JOhn McMAhOn Executive Vice President/Group Publisher jmcmahon@questex.com

inspiring and educating sellers of Affluent travel Executive Vice President/Group Publisher: John McMahon jmcmahon@questex.com (212) 895-8243 Vice President/Editorial Director: Ruthanne Terrero, CTC (212) 895-8423

rterrero@questex.com

Managing Editor: David Eisen (212) 895-8436

deisen@questex.com

Editor, LuxuryTravelAdvisor.com: Meagan Drillinger (212) 895-8289

mdrillinger@questex.com

Contributing Editors: Joe Pike, Susan J. Young, Lindsay Lambert, Jena Tesse Fox, Meagan Drillinger, Adam Leposa, Mary Winston Nicklin, Sharri Whiting de Masi

adverTising & sales sTaff Advertising Director: Stephanie Gordon (305) 854-1622

sgordon@questex.com

Northeast USA: Kevin Dailey (212) 895-8242

kdailey@questex.com

Midwest USA: Kimberly Newbury (312) 233-2647

knewbury@questex.com

Southeast USA & Caribbean: Barbara Magro (954) 522-1503

bmagro@questex.com

West Coast USA: Chris Coon (661) 775-1482

ccoon@questex.com

Europe, Middle East & Africa: Megan Meeres +44 (0) 20-8961-3706

megan@mm-2.co.uk

Mexico & Latin America: Stephanie Gordon (305) 854-1622

sgordon@questex.com

Hawaii: Loren Malenchek (808) 283-7122

loren@hawaii.rr.com

Asia: Hazel Li, InterAct Media & Marketing +65 6728-2396

hazelli@starhub.net.sg

Travel agenT CusTom soluTions: Vice President of Custom Solutions: Neil Strickland (954) 296-9515

nstrickland@questex.com

arT, CirCulaTion & ProduCTion, markeTing Associate Art Director: Debbie Sheehan (212) 895-8429

dsheehan@questex.com

Contributing Art Director: Amy B. Witek (440) 879-8299

awitek@questex.com

Production Director: Jamie Kleist (218) 206-2107 Production Specialist: Janelle Heller (218) 206-2110

jamie.kleist@superiormediasolutions.net janelle.heller@superiormediasolutions.net

Corporate Director, Audience Management/Circulation Inquiries: Lia Papismedov lpapismedov@questex.com (212) 895-8293 Reprints: Wright’s Media, (877) 652-5295 Marketing Director: Mary Woodworth (216) 895-8284 Marketing Solutions Manager: Belkis Carrasco (212) 895-8294 Marketing Solutions Coordinator: Lisa Bruckenstein (212) 895-8220

mwoodworth@questex.com bcarrasco@questex.com lbruckenstein@questex.com

CorPoraTe President & C.E.O.: Kerry C. Gumas Executive V.P. & Chief Financial Officer: Tom Caridi Executive V.P.: Tony D’Avino Executive V.P.: John McMahon Copyright © 2013 Questex Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopy, recording or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by Questex Media Group LLC for libraries and other users registered with the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Dr., Danvers, MA 01923; phone: (978) 750-8400; fax (978) 750-4470; call for copying beyond that permitted by Sections 107 or 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law. For those not registered with the CCC, phone Wright’s Media, 877-652-5295, with permissions request. Please send address changes to: Luxury Travel Advisor, PO Box 1267, Skokie, IL 60076-8267. For subscription inquiries, email: luxurytraveladvisor@halldata.com or call 866-344-1315. Outside the US, please call 1-847-763-9594. Luxury Travel Advisor does not verify any claims or other information appearing in any of the advertisements contained in the publication, and cannot take any responsibility for any losses or other damages incurred by readers in reliance on such content. Luxury Travel Advisor welcomes unsolicited articles, manuscripts, photographs, illustrations and other materials but cannot be held responsible for their safekeeping or return.

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EDITOR’S LETTER

How Travel Strengthens Children

T

Luxury in San Juan: I’m shown here at the Condado Vanderbuilt hotel, whose rooms are expected to open in October. We dined at its elegant 1919 restaurant, headed by Michelin-star Executive Chef Juan Jose Cuevas, which is already open and thriving.

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

here’s a story about my grandmother, who, as a young widow, decided to take a train trip across the country from New York to Arizona all by herself. Along the way, at one of the stops, she went to the ladies room and hung her purse on the door hook. Someone on the outside promptly reached over the door and grabbed the bag. My grandmother, who was indisposed, couldn’t catch the thief. She would have been penniless in the wild, wild West, if not for the money bag she wore around her waist. I only knew my grandmother when she was very old but that story of a young woman, brave enough to set out on her own at a time when it was unusual to do so, has always fascinated me and fueled my wanderlust; it’s also inspired me to not be fearful when traveling on my own. I can only imagine the horror she would have felt when she saw her purse disappear over the lavatory door and that makes me feel I have at least some sense of what it was like to be in her shoes. I wear a ring I inherited from her and when I look at it, I think of her traveling on that train and wonder what sparked her desire to take that trip. This is a brief story that I heard only once but it helped shape who I am. It gives me a sense of comfort in places I am unfamiliar with and in fact, it gives me a thrill to be in the middle of nowhere where no one I know knows exactly where I am, at least for that moment. It’s important to pass family stories down to children, particularly those that tell of a challenge, or even a tragedy, that was overcome. The New York Times recently carried an article that details how those children who have a real sense of their families’ history and roots tend to be able to face life’s challenges with a greater ease.

Bruce Feiler, who wrote the column, “The Stories That Bind Us,” explains how many families in 2013 have become fractured, thanks to our digital culture and other dynamics. It also shows how those clans that somehow manage to gather and regale tales of the ups and downs in the family’s history, including how it surpassed hardships, have children who are secure emotionally and happy. Feiler cites studies conducted on 48 families, asking children 20 questions, such as where did their grandparents grow up, if they knew the story of their own birth and if they were aware of any big events or tragedies that affected their family in its past. “The more the children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned,” says Feiler. Recommendations from the article? Create as many occasions and traditions as possible that provide families with the forum to exchange tales. Here is where you come in. If you have clients who are on the fence about taking a big family fling, a vacation that will bring them all together for some quality time, show them this column. Of course they understand that a vacation would be good for their family, but if you give them proof that these get-togethers actually contribute to their child’s emotional health, you’re likely to win them over. Explain to them that families need to gather and share in happy times, not just during crises, and that the more often they do this, the stronger their child will be when the time comes for them to face the real world on their own. You always knew travel was a good thing; now here’s quantifiable proof. And don’t forget that new insider tip I just shared: Don’t hang your purse on the back of the ladies room door or you may be left penniless in the midst of a great adventure. RUTHANNE TERRERO, CTC Vice President/Editorial Director rterrero@questex.com www.twitter.com/ruthanneterrero

SETTING THE COURSE FOR THE FUTURE OF LUXURY TRAVEL


destinations

Monte-Carlo Three chic options for a fabulous summer stay.

Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort (www.montecarlobay. com), sister resort of Hotel de Paris and Hotel Hermitage in Monte-Carlo, was built as a decidedly contemporary complement to its iconic siblings. Set on the outskirts of the city, it 6

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

has the benefits of lush gardens and a sand-bottomed lagoon, Jacuzzis everywhere, sun terraces and an indoor pool if it’s chilly outside. The views of Monaco and Cap Martin make it all feel like a resort stay in one of the world’s classiest cities. Some

would say, however, its greatest selling-point is its proximity to Jimmy’z discothèque, which is synonymous with Monte-Carlo’s fast-paced night life. Other high points? There’s a casino in the center of the hotel and the resort’s Zen-like Cinq Mondes SPA even

has three royal suites. Consider this resort to be ideal for couples and business travelers lucky enough to enjoy a meeting right at the hotel (there are 11 meeting rooms and two banquet halls). Jetsetters: The hotel has its own helipad, which makes


The FairmonT monTe Carlo (left) has a rooftop pool

with sweeping views of the Mediterranean. aT The monTe Carlo Bay hoTel

(above) the lobby strikes a chic, homey feel for visitors.

transfers from Nice International Airport a snap. If you go, give Chef Marcel Ravin’s cuisine a try at Blue Bay, including his Sunday “Bubbly” Brunch. For any special requests or to make special arrangements for your A-listers at any of the SBM hotels, contact Sylvie Cristin (s.cristin@sbm.mc), director of leisure and individual sales. For more on Monte-Carlo SBM hotels, see the July 2012 issue of Luxury Travel Advisor. Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony, the Pussycat Dolls and Leonardo DiCaprio, Demi

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Moore and Ashton Kutcher have all stayed at the Hotel Métropole (www.metropole.com), a member of The Leading Hotels of the World in Monte-Carlo; we wonder if they hid out at the Carré d’Or Suite, which has a huge outdoor terrace overlooking the Mediterranean and MonteCarlo’s Casino Square. Note: The suite is on the seventh floor with an array of other suites that interconnect. Suites with sea views here are Prestige Suites Nos.704, 705 and 706; they also have views of Casino Square. If you’re seeking connecting rooms in general, your best bet is on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors where guests can book a Junior Deluxe Suite connecting with another Junior Deluxe Suite or with a Deluxe Room. All rooms from the Deluxe Room category up have double sinks. Exciting News: The hotel has teamed up with Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld to redo its pool, terrace and gardens and to design a new Joel Robuchon restaurant called

Odyssey. The pool and the restaurant are expected to be done this month, in time for the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Want a room overlooking the swanky new pool? Deluxe Suites Nos. 509, 510, 609 and 610 are the best picks. Dining is a main event at Hotel Metropole, which is home to Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo (try the Arroz Bomba, Executive Chef Chistophe Cussac’s gastronomic version of paella). The chef ’s table is a great way to experience Joel Robuchon’s cuisine; it can seat up to eight guests either for lunch or dinner. At Yoshi, order the Gindara No Saikyo Yaki, which is marinated and grilled black cod, and a table by the window overlooking the Japanese garden. There’s also a sushi bar. Note: Odyssey serves only lunch and is reserved for hotel guests. Head Concierge Serge Mandina (concierge@metropole. com; +011-377-93-15-1520) can arrange wine-tasting excursions at a Château Roubine in Province, one of the oldest wine domains in France, for a private tour, a tasting session and lunch with the owners. Mandina can also set up a golf outing at the Golf du Mont Agel on the hills above Monaco.

Be sure to save time to visit the Metropole Bar, a happening place with locals and jetsetters who visit for its martini cocktails. If you go, dress “casual chic;” this is Monte-Carlo, after all. Shopping anyone? The hotel is near Carré d’Or of Monaco and sits above the famous Metropole Shopping Center, home to the Manufacture de Monaco (www.mdpm.com), which sells beautiful chinaware, including items stamped with H.S.H. Prince Rainier’s personal seal. Considering a wedding or special event? Contact Caroline Zambrano, group and banqueting manager (c.zambrano@metropole.com; +011-377-93-15-1340). ESPA at the Métropole promotes itself as ideal for spa wedding parties and girlfriend getaways (Hint: It’s possible to purchase vouchers as a gift). Marianna Heurtel, spa director (receptionespa@metropole-espa. com; +011-377-93-15-1370) can advise on treatments. We hear that the most experienced therapists are Patricio and Kyoko since they have worked at the spa since its opening in 2006. Treatments are available for those 16 and up, but children can enjoy manicures and pedicures. APRIL 2013 | LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR

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AT hoTel méTropole, the terrace of the Carre d’or suite

overlooks the monte-Carlo’s Casino square.

Book three weeks in advance to be sure you get your preferred time. ESPA provides a treatment for couples called Eros, which includes a steam shower and chromotherapy-based bath followed by a synchronized massage. Included as well is the Hammam Ritual, which includes a full body scrub and a

body wrap in the suite’s private Hammam. Another treatment for men includes a massage, salt scrub and an enzyme facial peel. The hotel is run by General Manager Jean-Claude Messant. Jesus Scott (j.scott@metropole. com; +011-377-9315-1559), the hotel’s sales manager for North America, is the liaison for luxury

Book AheAd during These Times in 2013 may 23-26: Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco (www.grand-prixmonaco.com): The event of Monaco, with 78 laps, is known for its difficulty level due to the tight turns within the city. June 9-13: Monte-Carlo Television Festival (www.tvfestival. com/2013) June 27-29: International Jumping Monte-Carlo (www.global championstour.com) July 6 and 26 and August 9 and 21: International Musical Fireworks Competition (www.monaco-feuxdartifice.mc/en) september 25-28: Monaco Yacht Show (www.monacoyacht show.com) will welcome more than 350 exhibitors and yachts.

2014 January 16-26: Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival (www.montecarlofestival.mc/en/) may 9-11: The Historic Grand Prix of Monaco (www.grandprix-monaco.com; dates may be subject to change). Two weeks before the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco, it takes place on the same circuit as the marquee event with charming old cars. 8

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

travel advisors. Nice Note: The hotel is now offering pre- and post-cruise packages. Fancy a rooftop pool overlooking the bay of Monte-Carlo? The Fairmont Monte Carlo (www.fairmont.com/montecarlo) has one that’s been getting rave reviews from travelers. They tend to favor the large Deluxe Sea View Rooms where they can sit and watch an array of todie-for yachts plying the waters. Best part? All rooms come with private terraces. For those who want to flaunt it or set up shop while they’re in Monaco, suggest a Grand Prix Suite. It has 915 square feet of space and three balconies, including two oceanfront and one that’s just above the famous Grand Prix Hairpin. Jetsetters, who want to look their best for Monte-Carlo’s elegant nightlife, love the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa, so reserve at least two days out. With a great supply of natural light, we say arrive early to enjoy its lovely lounges. Need a boost after a long flight? Try the “Monaco Power of the Sea” massage; it’s said to be quite energiz-

ing. Paola Arrigo (paola.arrigo@ fairmont.com; +011-377-93-5066-00) is the facility’s spa and fitness director and can provide an array of insider tips, but we can share that Soizic Termet is lauded as the top esthetician for facials and manicure treatments. Note that children must be age 16 and over to be admitted into the spa. If you need something out-ofthe-ordinary done while you’re in Monte-Carlo, Gerard Spatafora (gerard.spatafora@fairmont. com;+011-377-93-15-6754), the Fairmont’s head concierge and a member of Les Clefs d’Or, is your go-to person. He can arrange for a horse-drawn carriage to amble through the city or for a helicopter ride to the top of a nearby mountain where French champagne and caviar can be served. He can also provide private shoppers for the “Golden Square” stores nearby; think Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Valentino, Prada, Van Cleef & Arpels and Céline. If that’s not enough, the Metropole Shopping Centre right in front of the hotel has 80 boutique stands. Spatafora and his team can also handle more regular tasks, such as setting up helicopter and private car transfers to Nice Airport, which is just 15.5 miles away. The hotel is run by Xavier F. Rugeroni, the general manager and also the regional vice president for the area. Luxury travel advisors, Farid Rouibi (farid. rouibi@fairmont.com; +011-37793-15-6702), director of leisure sales wholesale & e-commerce, is your contact at the hotel. Nice Note: The hotel was depicted in James Bond’s Casino Royale as well as Madagascar 3. Access to Monte-Carlo: Those arriving via helicopter will land at Monaco Heliport in the Fontvieille area. Private jets land at Nice International Airport. —Ruthanne Terrero


Acropolis, Athen, 0 Diamond Suite

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London Bridge, London, 0 Diamond Suite

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF HISTORICAL MONUMENTS AROUND THE WORLD BUT ONLY TWO OFFER THE ULTIMATE LUXURY OF DIAMOND SUITES TO DISCERNING TRAVELERS .

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destinations

MaLindi , KenYa

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013


Malindi, on Kenya’s North-Eastern seaboard, became famous in the 1960s when wealthy Italian playboys built fabulous villas on its golden beaches. Since then, many of these properties have been turned into luxury retreats. One of these is Lion in the Sun (www. lioninthesun.net), which is actually not on the seafront, but just a short walk, or two minutes by courtesy car, from its own private beach. With its four sea-water swimming pools, the fenced resort more than makes up for not having an Indian Ocean frontage. The seven suites, seven superior rooms and two singles are in four secluded villas, discreetly

hidden under tropical vegetation. This makes it perfect for families or groups of friends who crave extra-special levels of privacy. VIP guests have included John Galliano, Bono, Fernando Alonso and Nicholas Sarkozy. Although quite minimalist in style, the large, airy rooms and suites have a palatial feel about them, with white being the predominant shade and African art works and local artefacts providing interesting touches of local color. We loved the glass-fronted his-n-hers showers, and the walk-in closets have oodles of hanging space. Good to know: Some of the bathrooms have bathtubs as well

as showers; so if you have clients who like to soak, be sure to ask for one of these. In the public areas, Arab- and Indian-style furniture and art blend in an intriguing mix. One particularly striking area is the upper floor in the main makuti-roofed building, where colorful Indian silks and Moroccan harem-style hanging lamps create a One Thousand and One Nights atmosphere. We thought the setting would be great for romantic dinners and General Manager Sabina Vivaldi (sabina.vivaldi@liongroup. co.uk; 011-254-42-21-30066, ext. 102) said it is also popular for private parties.

Lion in the Sun provides extra-special levels of privacy with accommodations discreetly hidden under tropical vegetation.

APRIL 2013 | LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR

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The JuNIOR SuITeS at Diamonds

Dream are done in African-Mediterranean décor.

LION IN The SuN’s gazebos, with its billowing drapes, overlook the sparkling turquoise waters of the beach.

Sabina advises that bookings be done at least three months in advance from midDecember to mid-January. She adds that luxury travel advisors can get through to the Front Office staff (011-254-725-906-044) too, who are also the property’s concierges. Tip: Contact them to set up airport fast-track clearance to have VIPs whisked through immigration and customs. The Henri Chenot Thalaspa won the Tatler Award for Best Spa of the Year 2010. Spa Director Margarita Mayrata (marguitap@ yahoo.com.es; 011-254-42-213-0066, ext. 113) says many guests come for the detox regime of hydrotherapy, massages and curing treatments. We tried the Biolight weightloss menu at lunch, and the grilled fish and vegetables were quite the nicest diet meal we have ever had. 12

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

The sparkling turquoise waters, billowing white drapes on the gazebos, XL sun loungers and personalized butler service on the beach (where owner and former resident Flavio Briatore is building the Billionaire Resort with 24 luxury apartments) are hard to resist. But the more adventurous will want to take to the high seas on the Kaliffa motorboat to explore the resort’s private Robinson Island where picnics and sundowners can be arranged. Diamonds Dream of Africa, a member of Small Luxury Hotel of the World, shares lush tropical gardens with its sister resorts, Tropical Village and Coconut Village, on a dazzling beach about two miles from the center of Malindi. The resort, which offers quality service, has an Arab-style architecture and all-suite accommodation. The 33 Junior Suites, where guests are

checked in, have African-Mediterranean décor and are all similar, with hardwood floors, beds with mosquito netting, air conditioning and ceiling fans, complementary Wi-Fi and a dining table for four. Suites on the lower level lead out to small patios and into the gardens. We recommend you book one of the even-number blocks if sunsets are important to your A-listers. Contact General Manager Bruno Fontana (info.doa@diamonds-resorts. com; 011-254-72-060-7075,) or Resort Manager Allan Ochsner (rm.doa@diamondsresorts.com; 011-254-72-060-7075) to book the two larger Executive Suites with separate living rooms and bedrooms. Bruno recommends booking two months ahead during festive seasons and school breaks. None of the suites have sea views, but the beach is only yards away and it is absolutely unique on this stretch of Malindi coast. One reason is that the management has effectively banned the beach boys whose unrelenting sales pitches can ruin a relaxing day in the sun. Service in the main restaurant is table d’hote, with free-flowing house wine and soft drinks, while the beach restaurant has a fine dining à la carte menu. We enjoyed a candlelit lobster dinner at the beach restaurant, and found the spice-laced pilau rice a perfect complement for the sweet lobster meat. The Mvua Thalassotherapy spa next to the sea-water swimming pool has two single and one couple’s treatment rooms. Spa Director Risper (mvua.doa@diamonds-resorts.com; 011-254-72-060-7075) says Ann is one of the most popular masseuses for hot stone treatments. The Simba Club is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It organizes pool and board games and also Swahili lessons for younger guests and baby-sitters can step in so that Mums and Dads can have quality time together. The concierges can arrange airport transfers, island safaris, snorkeling, diving and, of course, game safaris. No visit to Kenya is complete without a safari in one of the game parks: the Tsavo is only a couple of hour’s drive away, and the Masai Mara a two-hour flight from Malindi airport. This small airport is used by domestic carriers and private jets. Turkish Airlines and Swiss fly into the nearest international airport, Mombasa, which is a 3-hour ride by car. Kenya Airways, Etihad, British Airways, Swiss, Emirates, KLM, Qatar Airways and Air France fly into the capital Nairobi from where there are domestic flights to Mombasa. —Pamela McCourt Francescone


hotels

THE PRIVATE DINING ROOM of the

Royal Residence by the Seas, at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula, rises on stilts over the rocks and water.

Mega Suites There’s “over the top,” and then there’s “out of this world,” and then there are those suites that simply boggle your mind. When we set out to discover some of the world’s most mind-boggling suites, we had no idea we would find anything like these three. 14

In Vietnam, VIPs will love the all-new InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort (dan ang.intercontinental.com), which sits atop the hills of Vietnam’s famous Son Tra Peninsula. The beachfront abode is 20 minutes from Danang Airport, and close

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

to UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as The Imperial City of Hue, The Old Town of Hoi An and the My Son ruins. Now, for that suite. The twobedroom Royal Residence by the Sea is tops for the truly luxuryloving guest; it measures at 3,229

square feet and has a private dining pavilion that suspends over the rocks and water. Cool Touch: A private, 42-foot infinity pool has its own built-in bar and entertainment area. Each of the two bathrooms have separate bathtubs and rainforest showers.


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Offer valid on new bookings only made by May 31, 2013. Registration must be submitted by June 14, 2013. TO REDEEM VISIT WWW.RSSC.COM/WHYCHOOSE CALL REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES AT 800.285.1835, VISIT WWW.RSSC.COM Limite Time Offer. At the time of your purchase, fares may be higher. For current fares an promotional offers, please see www.RSSC.com or call 1-800-285-1835. FREE Unlimite Internet, $300 per suite Shipboar Cre it an Business Class Air from $699 is per person, each way for new bookings only ma e by May 31, 2013 when promo co e EUROPE2013 is provi e . Shipboar cre it is not transferable an cannot be re eeme for cash. To qualify, agents must make a new booking on the feature voyages between March 5 an May 31, 2013. "Why Choose?" is only vali for the feature voyage bookings ma e within the state booking win ow. Offer is combinable with our stan ar promotional offers, inclu ing groups, but is not combinable with other agent promotional offers inclu ing a itional Gift Car offers. Online form must be complete 24 hours after eposit or final payment (if require at time of confirmation) has been ma e. Confirmation of receipt of the form will be sent within 24-hours of submitting. Regent Seven Seas Cruises® must receive confirmation via this online form no later than June 14, 2013. Requests receive after sai ate will not be eligible, no exceptions. Gift Car (s) will be istribute within 45 ays of sailing ate. Fares liste are in U.S. ollars, base on ouble occupancy. All fares liste are per person an bonus savings liste are per suite. All fares an offers are for new bookings only, are capacity controlle an subject to availability, may not be combine with other offers an may be with rawn at any time without prior notice. 2-for-1 Fares are base on publishe Full Brochure Fares; fares may not inclu e Personal Charges, Optional Facilities an Services Fees as efine in the Terms an Con itions of the Guest Ticket Contract. *Air Inclusive Program applies to economy, roun trip flights only from select U.S. & Cana ian gateways: ATL, BOS, CLT, DFW, DEN, EWR, FLL, HNL, IAD, IAH, JFK, LAX, LGA, MCO, MIA, MSP, ORD, PBI, PHL, PHX, SAN, SAV, SEA, SFO, TPA, YUL, YVR, YYC an YYZ. Supplement will apply to HNL, SAV an YYC effective November 10, 2013. A vertise fare inclu es all air surcharges, airline fees an government taxes. Business Class Air applies to international flights from the select U.S. & Cana ian gateways mentione above an may not apply to U.S. omestic or intra-continental flights within North America, Europe, South America, Asia or Africa. Flights beginning or en ing in HNL require a supplement. Some airline-impose personal charges, inclu ing but not limite to baggage, priority boar ing, an special seating, may apply. For etails visit exploreflightfees.com. Air routing, sche uling an air carrier are at the iscretion of Regent Seven Seas Cruises®. Air Inclusive Program an Air Upgra e Offers are not combinable with 3r an /or 4th guests in a suite. FREE 1-Night Pre-Cruise Luxury Hotel Package applies for guests 1 an 2 only. FREE Unlimite Shore Excursion reservations are accepte on a first-come, first-serve basis an number of shore excursions are subject to availability. Restrictions apply an cancellations receive 36 hours prior to shore excursion start ate may incur penalties. Regent Seven Seas Cruises® reserves the right to correct errors or omissions an to change any an all fares or promotional offers at any time. Complete terms an con itions may be foun in the Guest Ticket Contract at www.RSSC.com. Ships' Registry: Bahamas ©2013 Regent Seven Seas Cruises® MK_MAR13147


Butler service is provided, natch. We hear the views from the suite are killer, as it overlooks the private bay and Monkey Mountain. Note: If you want these digs, be sure to book at least three months in advance. Guests at the resort can also indulge in the eight-villa spa, which is set around a lagoon. The top therapy is the Journey of the Siamese Jasmine. For bookings, reach out to Director of Spa Natsuda Dumrongpanich (nat suda.dumrongpanich@icdanang. com; +011-84-511-393-8888). Foodies take note: The resort’s

La Maison 1888 restaurant is helmed by three-star Michelin Chef Michel Roux. For special requests, Phuong Ai, the star concierge, is on hand to cater to the most discerning guests. She has dealt with government diplomats, billionaires, celebrities and more. Contact her at concierge@icdanang.com. Next Stop: Latin America’s Tivoli Sao Paulo (www.tivoli hotels.com), a member of the Global Hotel Alliance. The hotel is home to the Presidential Mofarrej Suite, which measures a massive 8,000 square feet and

Grand hoTel KeMPinsKi Geneva suite spans a staggering 11,690 square feet.

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

is decidedly palatial. The most intriguing, and luxurious, element of the suite is its private Dom Perignon cave (think an exclusive place inside the suite where guests can taste the most refined champagnes in the world). The space has three suites within, each with three full baths. There is also a private kitchen and private dining room. A separate entrance for staff and security is available so the highest level of discretion and exclusivity can be arranged. One of the rooms of the suite can be configured as a private gym or headquarters for security.

The PresidenTial Mofarrej suiTe (above left) at Tivoli Sao

Paulo houses three separate baths for the three suites within. royal residence’s (above)

swimming pool has an in-built bar and entertainment area.

While there is no balcony, the suite offers views of Paulista Avenue, one of the most important thoroughfares in Sao Paulo. There are also views of the Trianon Park and Avenida Nove de Julho. A 24-hour butler service is on hand to pack and unpack bags, as well as arrange anything


UNRIVALLED LUXURY, EXCLUSIVE MAYFAIR ADDRESS

Situated in the heart of London, Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living offers an unrivalled level of luxury and service at an exclusive Park Lane address. Experience the best of London life through our dedicated concierge team, indulge with Spa Illuminata At Home treatments or enjoy 24 hour room service in the privacy of your suite. Starting from 45sqm, our suites are amongst the largest in London, with many offering views of Hyde Park. For more information email stayGHA@jumeirah.com, visit jumeirah.com/GHA or call +44 (0)20 7518 4444.


Tivoli Sao Paulo’S (here) Presidential Mofarrej Suite is perched

on the 22nd floor and affords killer views of Sao Paulo. THE liviNG RooM (below) of the Royal Residence by the Seas.

else a guest may need. We hear kings from Sweden, princes from Luxembourg and Belgium, governmental entourages from Great Britain, Belgium, Israel, Chile and more have stayed here. Let’s not forget celebs like Catherine Deneuve, Amy Winehouse and the Black Eyed Peas, too. To be expected: A suite that can accommodate such highprofile guests has watertight security measures. Guests need a 18

valid card to reach the floor. The elevators cannot access the space without the card. There is also a private room for security staff. Luxury travel advisors can reach out to director of sales & marketing for Brazil, Cristian Bernardi (c.bernardi@tivolihotels.com; +011-55-11-3146-5900). Moving across the pond to Switzerland, royal travelers will feel most at home in Geneva at the Grand Hotel Kempinski’s

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

(www.kempinski.com/geneva) Geneva Suite. At a staggering 11,690 square feet, this is one of the largest accommodations in Europe. The duplex suite has 11 rooms (think two living rooms, three master bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, four bathrooms—one with private steam bath, and space for an office, a gym and a pool table). A 160-square-foot terrace, along with smaller balconies, help to round out the space and offer views of Old Town, Jet d’Eau and Mont Blanc. But the truly unique elements of this suite can be found in the details. For example, the beds are all made by hand from handpicked Lapland wood. They incorporate a spring system that ensures a killer night’s sleep. We hear that one bed takes 35 days to make. A total of 1,700 square feet of handmade, silk carpets swathe the floors and walls are covered in chamois leather,

handmade leather or silk. Other exclusive amenities include a Crestron Digital Media system, 22 (yes, 22) TV screens, a master TV of 65 inches and more. There are also Hermes products in the bathrooms. Cool Touch: The main bathroom has its own private hammam and a Jacuzzi bath with views over the lake. Pricing for the palatial place includes butlers and a personal chef. Note: A personal trainer is also available, should your clients want to stay in top shape. Clients who can afford such princely quarters may need the utmost security, so the suite has bullet proof windows throughout. A security room acts as a screening center for the suite, with cameras at all entrance points. For queries, it is best to reach out to Sylvie Muller (sylvie. muller@kempinski.com; +01141-0-22-908-9122), the assistant to the general manager. —Meagan Drillinger


Become an Omni Specialist. Become an Omni guest. Learn all about Omni Hotels & Resorts, and how to best leverage our properties for your clients. You’ll discover how rewarding our Select Guest loyalty program is and how well we take care of our travel agent partners. Visit us online to become an Omni Specialist today. Then try Omni for yourself with a free night at any hotel or resort. Get started at omnispecialist.com.

Š2013 Omni Hotels & Resorts


hotels

The PresidenTial suiTe at Park hyatt seoul offers the comforts of a luxurious city apartment.

Seoul in Style The exceptional Park Hyatt takes “Gangnam Style” to a whole new level. South Korean superstar Psy may be the reigning king of Gangnam Style but another trendsetting icon shares the spotlight in Seoul’s most famous shopping, entertainment and business district. Towering over the major intersection of Teheran-ro and Yeongdong Daero in the bustling heart of Gangnam, the 24-story Park Hyatt Seoul (seoul.park. hyatt.com) rises like a sleek glass box designed to showcase spectacular views of the city from every room. 20

The drama begins in the main lobby which has been cleverly switched from the more traditional first-floor entrance favored by most city hotels to the 24th and highest level of the Park Hyatt. Guests step out of the elevator into a Zen-calm reception area, fashioned in cool Japanese aji stone and framed by floor-toceiling windows. Tip: Reserve a window table in the adjacent Lounge for cocktails and breathtaking views as the city lights up at sunset.

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

With the largest deluxe rooms in Seoul (600 square feet), the Park Hyatt uses its four-element design aesthetic of wood, stone, glass and natural light to maximum effect in all 185 guest rooms and suites. Each floor is limited to a maximum 10 rooms, creating a heightened sense of space and privacy. While the Presidential Suite (No.2208) and two Diplomatic Suites (Nos.2109 and 2009) are the undisputed star turns, each offering the comforts and facilities of a luxurious city apart-

ment, the 35 Park Suites are the hotel’s most requested rooms. Note: Park Suites differ by ‘lines’. Line 5 (rooms ending with #5) have views of COEX, Seoul’s striking Convention and Exhibition Center; Line 10 (rooms ending with #10) are even more dramatic offering two opposite views (COEX and the Tancheon) at the same time. The standout feature in Park Hyatt Seoul’s 22nd-floor Deluxe Twin room is the spa-inspired bathroom, measuring a third of the entire room, with a deep-


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soaking tub, a rain shower mounted on a granite wall, Aesop amenities, and full wall windows looking out to the city skyline. Note: Discreet blinds can descend to protect one’s modesty. The pale Myanmar oak paneled walls and adjustable mood lighting in the bedroom and living area create a contemporary residential feel, complemented by an array of up-to-the-minute technologies. For more information, contact Assistant Director of Sales Sofia Kim (sofia.kim@hyatt.com; 011-82-2-2016-1252). The hotel has taken another of its key elements, the Park Club Spa and Fitness Center, and elevated it to new heights. Perched on the 23rd and 24th floors, adjacent to the lobby and The Lounge, the Club offers an indoor heated lap pool, three treatment rooms, and more than 30 spa treatments. Tip: The 150-minute Korean Ritual is a sure-fire cure for jet lag. Contact Spa Manager Yoon Hwang (yoon.hwang@hyatt.com; 011-82-2-2016-1175). The main restaurant, Cornerstone, on the 2nd floor, has an open kitchen specializing

The CornersTone restaurant has an open kitchen and is an ideal

venue for a weekend brunch.

in grilled meats and seafood prepared in wood-burning ovens, and is the venue for an excellent weekend Brunch at the Park. Note: There are two private dining rooms for exclusive gatherings. Contact Cornerstone Manager Para Kim (jun.mi@hyatt. com; 011-82-2-2016-1220/1). The lower level Timber House is a favorite with Seoul’s cocktail crowd. Styled on an old hanok, a traditional Korean house built of wood, and divided into three themed areas, this outstanding bar serves top quality

Deluxe BaThroom is a spainspired setup with a deep-soaking tub, shower mounted on a granite wall and full glass windows.

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

sushi, sashimi, boutique Japanese sakes and Korean sojus, cocktails, whiskeys and champagnes, and offers live entertainment Monday through Saturday from 8:30 p.m. The hotel has a dedicated concierge team which can arrange private tours by luxury limousine, including an exclusive Art & Design tour to leading galleries and boutiques. Contact Concierge Team Leader Jini Lee (selph-concierge@hyatt.com; 011-82-2-2016-1148). Seoul itself is a dynamic city with several cultural gems. The majestic Gyeongbokgung royal palace, founded in 1395, served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty for more than 500 years, and remains one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Tip: Tours in English are available. Directly in front of the palace is Gwanghwamun Square with its imposing statue of King Sejong the Great—the fourth and most respected sovereign of the Joseon Dynasty and the creator of Korea’s alphabet—surrounded by fountains and a flower carpet. Just off the square lies Cheonggye Plaza, the site of Seoul’s first stream, now an elegant promenade lined with art installations and sculptures and a venue for

popular cultural events through the year. Old and new Korea collide in Insa-dong, a busy commercial district in central Seoul with shops, art galleries, craft stores, antiques dealers, traditional tea houses and restaurants. Other good shopping options are Namdaemun Market, the largest and oldest street market in Korea; the more upscale Dongdaemun Market with its array of fashion-centric malls; and the boutiques and restaurants of Cheongdam-dong in the trendy Gangnam district. For more information, go to www. visitkorea.co.kr. For a leisurely day in the country, head to the Ananti Club (www.ananticlub.com), a 40-minute drive from Seoul. Ananti is a stylish and exclusive private members’ club which welcomes guests for lunch or dinner in the main restaurant. Korean Air (www.koreanair. com) offers daily nonstop flights to Seoul from major U.S. gateways. Prestige Class (business) service is offered on A380 aircraft (New York and L.A.), has fully flat sleeper seats, super-efficient cabin crew, and two private bar lounges for relaxing. —Andrew Conway


LUXURY IN THE HEART OF MADRID Exceptionally located in the renowed Plaza de Colón, at steps from Madrid’s Golden Mile, the main musseums and the historic center. Member of The Leading Hotels of the World®, the hotel offers the exclusive RedLevel service, magnificent suites with panoramic views and private whirlpools and the most sophisticated cocktail creations at DRY by Javier de las Muelas. Discover Gran Meliá Fénix, a journey that will exceed all your expectations. Information and reservations: +34 91 567 59 01, your travel agent or at granmelia.com

Timeless luxury with an avant-garde flair C H I N A • I N D O N E S I A • I TA LY • P U E R TO R I C O • S P A I N • V E N E Z U E L A facebook/Gran.Melia.Hotels


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Austria. Moments of bliss.

Vienna Salzburg

Innsbruck

Eisenstadt

3 4 5

Graz

A s i n g u l a r j o u r n e y, a l i f e t i m e o f m e m o r i e s .

No wonder, Austrian Airlines is adding a new direct flight from Chicago to Vienna, starting mid May 2013!

1_ H ote l S a n s S o u c i W i e n At the newly opened hotel Sans Souci Wien enjoy true luxury paired with contemporary lifestyle in one of Vienna’s most artistic district. The building was originally built as a hotel in 1873, and used until 1945 as such. After years of use as an office building, the Sans Souci was transformed again into a luxury boutique hotel in 2012. Expect individually designed rooms inspired by Philippe Starck; design furniture paired with antiques and eclectic pieces of art. Located in the center of Vienna’s cultural happenings, it is surrounded by top institutions such as the MuseumsQuartier Wien, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (Museum of Fine Arts), and the Museum of Natural History. Shopping in the nearby Mariahilfer Strasse, as well as in the artist’s quarter Spittelberg with its fancy small design boutiques, and the luxurious stores of Vienna’s first district are within walking distance. Enjoy the complimentary buffet breakfast with a glass of bubbly champagne. Wi-Fi internet access is included ,as well as the usage of the Sans Souci Spa Club — a 4845 sq-ft fitness and wellness center including a 66 ft. luxury pool. www.sanssouci-wien.com

Email us for your 2013 Austria Magazine at travel@austria.info A

Become an Austria Expert at austriaexpertprogram.com To plan your unique vacation visit austria.info/bliss Connect with us facebook.com/austriatravelinfo

© Österreich Werbung/ Andreas Hofer; [1] © Sans Souci Wien; [2] 40051 © WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud

Millions of enthusiastic visitors to Vienna agree to one fact: Vienna is fabulous in every way! A fact that has again been confirmed by the renowned international consulting firm Mercer and its annual international city survey, evaluating the quality of living in 221 cities around the globe. And once again in 2012, Vienna came out on top, making the Austrian capital the world’s most livable city for the fourth time in a row.


w w w. a u s t r i a . i n f o

[3] © WienTourismus / MAXUM; [4] © Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna; [5] © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

3_Learn to Waltz The Viennese Waltz is an integral of Viennese culture; the melodies and dance are seemingly in the blood of every Viennese. At the sweet age of 16, Vienna’s adolescents fl ock to one of the famed dance schools to learn ballroom dancing along with social etiquette of the elegant ball culture. The most legendary address to do so is the Dance School Elmayer, which is synonymous with sophisticated Viennese lifestyle and unique in the world. Visitors can learn the simple basics of the Viennese Waltz. Just bring along nicely polished shoes with smooth soles and spin around Elmayer’s dance fl oor in three-quarter time! www.elmayer.at

2 _V i e n n a C of fe e h o u s e C o nve r s a ti o n s You already know about Viennese coffeehouses: their cozy charms, their endless lists of coffee specialties such as “Einspänner” and “Melange,“ and their famously delicious pastries. Now add a twist: Sign up for a “Vienna Coffeehouse Conversation,” a series of popular dining events that pair up visitors with locals for one-on-one chats, on subjects ranging from travel to family, from culture to food. Echoing a time when the likes of Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig and Gustav Klimt would gather in cafés to exchange ideas and debate, the Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations are a great way to experience the city‘s cultural history — and make friends along the way. It includes a three-course menu, plus a “conversation menu” with ideas to get the conversation going. www.vienna-unwrapped.com

4 _T h e M u s e u m The Emperor Built

5 _V i e n n a E x p e r ts Club

In March 2013, one of the world’s most important chambers of art, the Kunstkammer Vienna at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, will reopen after ten years. This state-of-the-art installation is of seminal importance for Vienna’s imperial heritage and a unique refl ection of art of the entire universe. Extensive renovations have now transformed this gem — over 2,200 objects presented on 29,000 sq-ft — into a magical space of imagination. www.khm.at

With the free online educational program ‘Vienna Experts Club International,’ become a Vienna expert and join an exclusive international club of agents. Learn about Vienna, receive exclusive invitations, and enjoy the special offers on your personal study trip to Vienna: best conditions at hotels; reduced or free entrance to museums, concerts and events; restaurants and sightseeing offers; and the Vienna Card, your 72-hour transport network ticket. www.viennaexpertsclub.at


SpaS

Las Vegas Spas Spas in Las Vegas are serious business, with plenty of options at resorts up and down the Strip and all over the Downtown area. Cosmopolitan Las Vegas The Sahra Spa & Hammam at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas covers 43,000 square feet and has an impressive range of spaces: Think 16 massage rooms, four body treatment rooms—each with private steam showers—six skincare treatment rooms, two hydrotherapy rooms and a series of specialty suites designed for

group treatments. The Hammam has proven to be a popular spot to unwind in for an afternoon. The 1,200-square-foot space can be used individually or by up to four guests, and has separate alcoves for steam and cold water plunge pools. Guests can also relax on the heated stone loungers or get a scrub massage to complete the treatment. The signature Hammam treatment, the Sahra Journey, incorporates several cleansing, purifying, and exfoliating

methods into a 2.5-hour package that also includes the Red Flower Hammam Experience. This unique therapy uses 11 flower oils and fruit essences, including Red Flower Lemon Coffee Blossom Olive Stone Scrub for varied scents and healing properties. A “vigorous scrub” is followed by a purifying clay wrap with essences of cardamom; all the while guests relax on warm stones. Tops for girlfriends: The Sahra Suite has a living and entertaining area and private spa accommodations. (Perks include

The CosmopoLiTan’s sahra suite has two side-by-side whirlpool tubs, ideal for girlfriend getaways.

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

a flat-screen TV with DVD player, wet bar, whirlpool tubs, steam room, shower, changing and vanity areas.) Beyond massages and facials, girls can get nail treatments, hair and makeup, and can even order room service for dinner and champagne. Good to know: Try to book at least a week in advance. Some services are only scheduled once per hour, so the farther out the booking, the better the likelihood of getting the dream treatment. When staying at the hotel, ask to be booked into Terrace


photo: Joey Wright

GIVE YOUR CLIENTS THE BEST OF LAS VEGAS.

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Vdara’S spa & salon offers both traditional and specialty massages. One- BedrOOm FOuntain View SuiteS (below) at the

Cosmopolitan boast panoramic views of the Vegas skyline.

One Bedroom Suites, which have private terraces and deep Japanese soaking tubs (great for continuing the relaxation after spa treatments, we say). Reach out to Spa Director Daryl Morris (daryl.morris@ cosmopolitanlasvegas.com; 702698-6106) or Spa Sales Manager Anthony Anguille (anthony. anguille@cosmopolitanlasvegas. com; 702-698-7182) for any unique requests, group bookings or VIP guests check-ins. Spa & Salon Vdara At CityCenter, the three-year-old multifunction city within a city, Vdara (www.vdara.com) has an 18,000-square-foot, two-story spa, salon and fitness center. The Naturopathica French Lavender Soothing Massage is a specialty treatment offered by the spa, but we hear the signature Bamboo Fusion Massage is tops. This signature treatment 28

uses bamboo for Balinese ritual techniques, such as compression, tapotement, ringing, and skin rolling. Good for kids: A children’s manicure/pedicure is available for anyone under 14 years old. This children’s service features a strawberries-and-creme (not “cream”) pedicure, which we hear uses “farm fresh products.” Bridal parties are also in luck: Brides should try the “Head Over Heels” pedicure treatment, “Body & Soul” massage package, and Day-of Hair and Make-Up services. Grooms, meanwhile, can get a Men’s Cut & Style and MAN-icure. Bonus: After the ceremonies, the couple can join up for a “Happily Ever After” couples massage package. And at Vdara Pool & Lounge, book one of the six specially designated Spa Cabanas, which have a media unit for television and music, ceiling fans, safety deposit

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

boxes, hand sinks, as well as a refrigerator stocked with mineral water and fresh fruit. Spa treatments can also be booked at the cabanas, including the Cabana Purifying Body Treatment & Massage. Top Tip: At the hotel, book the Two Bedroom Penthouse Suite, which has two full master bedrooms, spa-style bathrooms

and a full kitchen and living room. (Guests staying in the suite get four one-time use Spa Facility passes, so this is an especially good pick for spa-focused vacations.) Reach out to Spa Director Shannon Mariani (smariani@ vdara.com; 702-590-2474) with any questions about the Vdara Spa. —Jena Tesse Fox


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Cruises

Sailing the

Seabourn Quest Photos by Ruthanne Terrero

The third iteration of Seabourn’s new line of vessels does not disappoint. If you’re traveling on Seabourn for the first time, get ready to meet a lot of people who have already sailed the line many times. Case in point: On a recent Seabourn Quest voyage to the Caribbean, 276 guests were invited to the Captain’s Seabourn Club reception, (a gathering for those who have sailed the line before). That’s out of the 40030

plus guests on the ship. Not a bad percentage. Why do cruisers come back? Guests we spoke with cited the intimate size of the ship, which has only 225 suites. This means you’re never too far from anything, including your own quarters. Let’s put it this way: if you forget your sunglasses in your room, it’s not a 15-minute trek

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

back to get them. One devoted Seabourn couple we spoke with said that they thought they’d never be able to get used to Seabourn’s new “larger” ships (Odyssey, Sojourn, and Quest) but they’d grown quite fond of them and had been sailing regularly on them since they debuted. Note: They were reminiscing about the original

and tiny Spirit, Legend and Pride, which have only 104 suites each and have recently been sold to Windstar, with transfer dates set for 2014 and 2015. We found the biggest change with the newer ships to be a much more active pool scene, a much larger spa and a more spacious Sun Deck. There are also more hidden pools, decks and Jacuzzis on the newer vessels.


The Pool Scene (left) on

Seabourn Quest offers plenty of activities. Seabourn Square (below

center) is designed as a living room where guests can sit indoors or outside with a book and cappuccino. a PuTTing green (below right)

is just one of the activities found on the top deck of the ship.

The very high level of service remains the same. Life on Board: We say the best place for sunning is the Sky Bar on Deck 9, which overlooks the pool and is adorned with double chaise lounges. We sat here fanning ourselves after a morning of shopping in St. Kitts (think batik sundresses, rare gem shops and a decent array of chic beach clothing). A refreshing raspberry cooler doused with a splash of champagne was offered to us as soon as we’d settled into our perch. Dining: Lunch is served at the Patio Grill in the form of very fresh salads, pizza, nachos, guacamole and salsas and burgers, including turkey burgers. We became fans of having lunch in the main dining room, aka The Restaurant, especially after a morning in a Caribbean port of call. What’s better than sitting in an elegant, air-conditioned dining room with white linen tablecloths and five-star service? Nothing, we say. We opted for The Restaurant for dinner as well but what we found on the Quest, however, was an equally loyal following of those who preferred to enjoy a casual dinner outside at the Patio Grill each evening. You can request table service as well. Insider Secret: The Colonnade offers alfresco dining for supper all the way aft on Deck 8; we found it to be a very romantic setting with amber candlelight and some of the most affable hosts and waitstaff on board. Dinners are regionally themed, bistro-style affairs on the Colonnade—on our last evening of the

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cruise, we enjoyed Spanish night with a bountiful paella offering. One thing we quite gleefully learned is that if you’re caught hungry between the hours of an early lunch and a late dinner, you can order a pizza margherita (and almost anything else you’d like) to be sent to your room. This is just the ticket to sit on your suite’s verandah and watch the horizon or a stunning Caribbean island go by as you sail from port. Unique Amenities: Dining aside, one of our favorite spots on the ship was Seabourn Square, the nucleus of which is a living room-like area where guests check in and where one goes for guest services. Nice Touch: The guest actually gets to sit and chat in a consultative manner with the attendant, rather than standing over a counter. This thoughtful amendment to a simple service made the entire cruise feel more luxurious. Technology: Outside this area are eight computer stations, where one can purchase Internet packages for a day or the entire length of the cruise. Throughout the week, we found guests regularly checked their e-mail (one can also purchase Internet for one’s tablets and laptops), yet we never found ourselves waiting to use a computer. The convenience and ease of jumping on to a ship

computer encouraged us to lock up the iPad and Android for the week. On one side of Seabourn Square is a European-style coffee bar that serves lattes, cappuccinos and teas, as well as noshes like tea sandwiches, coconut muffins and almond croissant. We can’t fully describe Seabourn Square without mentioning the library that lines its walls, where latest novels, nonfiction books as well as classics are part of the collection. It’s easy to grab one of these, order your afternoon cuppa and head out to the outside seating area in the square, which has big comfy couches and dining tables, to sip and read as the sun goes down. More fun stuff: Back to sunning on Seabourn Quest. After we’d been welcomed with our champagne-and-raspberry refresher and baked for just a bit, we were greeted by an attendant giving out an array of suntan lotions to soothe our skin as well as a spritz of water to cool us down. To us, this was a boon as there’s nothing like being caught on a Caribbean cruise without sunblock. We count this service as a first for us. Note: We said Deck 9 was an ideal place for sunning but after a little walk around we discovered the Sun Terrace two flights up is a

peaceful place as well and includes a number of sporting options such as ping pong, shuffleboard, a putting green and a driving range. Cocktails anyone? Fine wine and spirits are included on Seabourn, plus, The Club on the fifth floor serves a fabulous appetizer of Black River Ossetra sturgeon caviar and all the trimmings, just ask for it. During our cruise, we found a decidedly European crowd melding in with a typical American group; it all felt very international to us. After a taste of the caviar, it’s fun to jump up to the Observation Bar for post-dinner martinis (if you’re able to indulge) with wonderful entertainment on the piano by a Seabourn cast member. Accommodations: Entertainment in the suites is very sophisticated, with hundreds of on-demand movies and songs available on a flat-screen interactive TV. Walk-in closets and bathrooms with a separate shower and tub make the space extremely comfortable. Sailing: Our itinerary was the Caribbean in mid-December. The Quest in 2013 sails the entire Mediterranean on a series of 10-day cruises from Barcelona, Athens and Monte-Carlo. In November, it heads to Antarctica, a first for Seabourn. —Ruthanne Terrero

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Cruises

italy Ports

Venice is filled with history and culture at every

turn. Shown here in port is the Silver Cloud.

To see Rome and Venice on a short stay is nearly impossible, but when visiting on a port of call, you certainly have to try. If you have just a few hours (or, dare we say it, an entire day) to kill in either of these iconic cities, here are our tips on how to seize the moment. When docking “in Rome,” cruisers will find that they are not actually in Rome, but in Civitavecchia, which is about 50 miles from the city. However, luxury cruise operators will provide transportation to and from the city center. To visit Rome and to not indulge is unthinkable, we say. Forego your calorie-counting 32

mindset and let your waistline go, if only just a little bit. Rome is a walking city, after all, so we think you will more than make up for the extra caloric intake. For daytime dining, and a much-needed reprieve from all the sightseeing, we say make a stop at RossoPomodoro (www. rossopomodoro.com), a Neapolitan restaurant at Largo Argentina that serves up delicious pizzas and pastas. The restaurant is airy and bright with attentive and speedy service, and the food will leave you delightfully full but not weighted down, so the touring can continue. For evening dining, there is nothing more romantic than sit-

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

ting outside at the Piazza Campo de’ Fiori and sampling the carbonara pasta at La Carbonara (www.lacarbonara.it). Rome is a city to be seen on foot, and as many of its notable attractions are close to each other, it is completely possible to cover the Colosseum, Spanish Steps and Forum on the same day. The Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica, however, require much more attention. Rather than getting lost in the hordes of people, we suggest booking a private or semi-private tour with Dark Rome Tours & Walks (www.darkrome.com), which offers group tours of a limited size with expert guides,

that allows guests certain perks. Our Vatican City tour allowed us to cut the painfully long lines, saving us lots of time. The threehour tour takes you through the Vatican Museum and into the Sistine Chapel. The groups are 20 people or less and the tour covers everything from ancient sculptures and tapestries to the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. Tours run around $70 per person, and the amount of time you save being able to skip the lines is well worth it. Note: Dark Rome also offers other tours in Rome, as well as tours in Florence, Venice and Pompeii. Coming Soon: Should you be in Rome on a pre- or post-


ADvIsOR INsIGHT: “No matter how many days you stay in Venice, it never seems to be enough,” says Judy Litner of Travel Express Intl. “If you only have one day in this magical city, visit the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark’s Square. Have an espresso or cappuccino at Café Florian, the oldest cafe in Venice. An orchestra plays while you sit and sip. Then head to the Rialto Bridge. Cross over to the fruit, vegetable and fish market, where the locals come to shop each day. If possible, stop in at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum after you have completed a gondola ride. For a fabulous dinner, head to my favorite restaurant, Al Covo (www.ristorantealcovo.com). “If you only have one day to explore Rome, go directly to the bottom of the Spanish Steps. From here, you can easily walk to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo. You will need transportation to the Vatican. If you’re a real foodie, don’t miss Kenny Dunn’s fourhour walking food tour, Eating Italy Food Tours [www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com]. You will visit the Testaccio food market and have 12 food tastings as you walk, including a sit-down lunch with wine and pastas of three different kinds.”

cruise visit, be sure to check out the J.K. Place Roma (www. jkroma.com), which is slated to open this summer. Occupying a historical building at Via Monte d’Oro 30 just off the Via Condotti, within walking distance from the Spanish Steps, the hotel will have chic, contemporary interiors. At the helm is General Manager Samuel Porecca, who created the successful vibe at the J.K. Place Capri. The J.K. Master room, which is made up of a living room and 34

A BIRD’s EYE vIEw of st. Peter’s square from the basicila, in Rome.

separate bedroom, will span 540 square feet. Something akin to a citywide, outdoor museum, Venice oozes history and culture at every turn. Of course, being such a tourist-heavy city can leave many traps that don’t quite capture the city’s essence. Here are our insider tips. Like most cities in Italy, life in Venice goes on at a leisurely place. It is not uncommon for ladies to stop for a morning glass of Prosecco on the way to the market, often before 11 a.m. To truly experience the Venetian way of life, begin with a “bacari crawl.” The typical bars in Venice called bacari serve cicheti, versions of tapas that are often served with small glasses of Prosecco, in the mornings. The Calle Della Madonna San Polo is a wonderful place to wind through the back alleys and sample from these small eateries. If you are going to explore the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto (and you really should,

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

but please do not spend your entire day there), be sure to visit the fish market because there you will find a hidden gem. The Rialto is one of the most heavily trafficked parts of an overly toured city, but tucked behind an unassuming store front, directly across the fish market, is Pronto Pesce (prontopesce.it), a local market selling delicacies that were most likely swimming just a few hours prior to your purchase. The display case, upon first glance, isn’t really all that impressive—especially if you don’t know what it is you are looking at. Fortunately, the people behind the counter speak English relatively well and are more than willing to explain what it is before your eyes. We suggest a sampling of everything (think smoked swordfish, squid eggs, salted cod, shrimp, tuna and even shark). This is all accompanied with crusty, rustic bread and, of course, that everpresent glass of Prosecco.

While in town, we also suggest visiting The Gritti Palace (www.thegrittipalace.com). The Starwood Luxury Collection has been hard at work restoring the iconic hotel on the Grand Canal. The 15-month project brought some of Italy’s best craftsmen to the 16th-century palace, where they worked on original Rubelli Venetian textiles, terrazzo floors, handcrafted Girandole mirrors and antique Murano glass chandeliers. Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of The Redentore Terrazza Suite, a two-story suite on the palazzo’s top floor equipped with a sprawling terrace (the perfect spot to host a cocktail party). Accessed by private elevator, the suite also has a small pool overlooking the Grand Canal. Luxury travel advisors can contact Paolo Lorenzoni (paolo.lorenzoni@ starwoodhotels.com; 011-39041-79, ext. 4701) for questions or bookings. —Meagan Drillinger


ARRIVE A VISITOR, DEPART A LOCAL Welcome to a venue inspired by the neighborhood, from the art on our walls to the food in our restaurants to the music in our lounges. So while your clients are here, they’ll feel a part of that neighborhood. And, upon departure, they’ll feel like they have genuinely experienced their destination, rather than simply visited it.

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Culture Calendar

Art ininEurope 2013

Eileen O’Donnell Schlichting, president of Transatlantic-Travel with Style, a Travel Experts agency, shares with us her wish list of must-visit major art shows throughout Europe for the coming year.

O

n April 13, the Rijksmuseum (www. rijksmuseum.nl/en) in Amsterdam will reopen, after being closed for 10 years. Tickets went on sale mid-March. This is a must-see and will draw art-lovers from the world over. This has been a longawaited opening. The Venice Biennale (www. labiennale.org/en/art/) will take place this year from June 1 to November 24. I rely on IC Bellagio (www. icbellagio.com/) to arrange for the perfect hotel and an expert guide who will consult with my clients on their schedule and take them through the exhibits. There is so much art to see that it can be overwhelming without the assistance of a pro. Surrealism is big right now—and in Madrid, the Thyssen-Bornemisza (www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/ home) will have a special exhibit on “Surrealism and the Dream” running from August 12 to December 1, 2013. The exhibit will plumb the connection between dreams and images in surrealism, using paintings, drawings, photos and sculpture from such artists as Dali, Breton, Tanguy, Magritte and Nougue. Virginia Irurita at Made for Spain (www. madeforspain.com) can assemble a personal program, with a docent for the show, handpicked accommodations and great dining experiences. London has three delightful special exhibitions coming up. The classicists and archaeologists who serve as docents for Context

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

My favorite Paris museum, the D’Orsay (www.musee-orsay.fr/en/ home.html) delves into the imaginathe Eiffel tower tion with “The Angel of the Odd: in Paris. Dark Romanticism from Goya to Max Ernst.” You might want a glass of absinthe to accompany this tour of paintings, graphic works and etchings that will show that vampires and ghouls haunted viewers long before Twilight. I adore art-filled Flanders, which will have two notable openings in 2013. The M Museum (www.mleuven.be/en/) in Leuven, Belgium, has a special show on Michael Coxcie, the 16th-century painter who has been called “the Flemish Raphael.” In Antwerp, on September 27, the Red Star Line Museum (www.redstar line.org) will open to tell the story of the immigrants who traveled on the Red Star Line from Central and Eastern Europe to the New World. Three important exhibitions will feature women artists: designer Eileen Gray at the Pompidou Centre (www. centrepompidou.fr/en) in Paris; Meret Travel are gearing up for “Life and Death in Oppenheim at the Bank Austria Pompeii and Herculaneum,” an innovative Kunstforum (www.bankaustria-kunstforum. show that runs from March 28 to September at/en) in Vienna, and Hilma of Klint at the 29 at the British Museum (www.british ModernaMuseet (www.modernamuseet.se/) museum.org/) that will paint a picture of in Stockholm, Sweden. daily life in Herculaneum and Pompeii before Berlin (www.visitberlin.de/en) has not the eruption of Vesuvius, as well as its afteronly always been a great art city, with its math. Rockers will want to head to “David combination of historical museums and Bowie Is,” an extravaganza at the Victoria cutting-edge galleries, but it’s also adept at and Albert Museum (www.vam.ac.uk/) combining arts and nightlife. On April 27 from March 23 to July 28 that will feature there will be 200 late-night opera and theater Bowie’s glam costumes, photos and videos, performances around the town. set designs, lyrics, and films. —Eileen O’Donnell Schlichting EilEEn O’DOnnEll Schlichting at


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Cover Story

SmartFlyer Michael Holtz and Erina Pindar use social networks to add to luxury’s allure. By Ruthanne teRReRo

I

f it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen.” That’s Michael Holtz, owner and CEO of SmartFlyer, a Manhattan-based luxury travel agency, speaking of his dedication to the social network. He’s half kidding but he’s half not. Holtz’s postings on his own Facebook page are a continuous flow of photos of his meet-ups with top industry suppliers

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LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

and colleagues, as well as his visits to luxury hotels around the world. The latter so entices his clients that they’ll e-mail him or SmartFlyer’s director, Erina Pindar, insisting they want to visit the hotel where they saw “a photo of Michael in that amazing pool.” They’re not concerned with where it is; they just want to be where he was. For SmartFlyer, much more happens on Facebook, where it has a


when he’s snagged that particular accommodation (and it’s likely with his influence with the airlines), he snaps a photo of his boarding card with his phone and posts it on Facebook, maybe to flaunt it just a little. But Holtz, whose SmartFlyer agency pulls in a cool $45 million a year in revenue, isn’t flying around the world all the time and when his traveling friends snag seat 2A instead, they post a photo of their boarding card on Facebook and tag Holtz, teasing that they’re in his seat.

MichAel holTz, owner and ceo of SmartFlyer, uses social networking to enhance many aspects of his business.

Photo by Belkis Carrasco

secret account through which its 15 employees in its New York office interact with its 50 or so affiliate agencies across the country. It’s a good business model since most SmartFlyer advisors are obsessed with their phones, says Pindar. “It’s a place where if an advisor has an inquiry about Africa, they can post it, asking for assistance. When someone writes a message on Facebook, it’s going to pop up on your phone immediately and you’ll be able to see it. So someone will always respond within, like, 10 minutes. It’s amazing. It’s awesome,” says Pindar, who handles social networking as well as the affiliate independent contractors program for SmartFlyer. Then there’s the “Mr. Seat 2A” phenomenon. That’s Holtz’s favorite seat on just about any aircraft. He doesn’t like the bulkhead because of the lack of storage space so he says seat 2A is always a safe bet. For years now,

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A passion-driven journey That Holtz is a jet-setter today, running a successful luxury travel agency, was not a stroke of fate; in fact, the native New Yorker was plotting it early on from Washington University in St. Louis, where he attended college. It was the early ’80s, the glory days of TWA. With hubs in both New York and St. Louis, the airline’s aircraft, which Holtz flew between home and school, was impressive. “Back then they flew 747s and L-1011s from St. Louis to Kennedy; it was a first-class product,” recalls Holtz. So deep was his love of the airline business, he opened his own travel agency while still in college called Fly High Travel. His clients were college students flying back and forth to the East Coast or going on Spring Break. “TWA always had promotions; if you flew a certain number of sectors in a specified time frame you would get bonus tickets. So [instead of flying directly between St. Louis and New York], my friends and I would fly from New York to Washington to Columbus to Chicago to St. Louis to get the extra segments,” notes Holtz. Their reward for earning all those bonus segments? “We’d go to Hawaii over Thanksgiving.” His path was set. When Holtz returned to New York in 1987, he worked for the company whose founders went on to launch Hotels.com. When they left, Holtz inherited the airlines portion of the business and launched what was then called The Smart Flyer in 1990 on West 29th Street in the city’s Flower District. He used his Bar Mitzvah money as seed cash. Strong alliances with air consolidators kept the business invulnerable to the airline commission cuts in 1995 and so his company continued selling purely air to corporate clients, many of whom were hedge fund managers or in other parts of the financial sector. Then he met Helen Fullem of the Crown

Collection, whom Holtz dubs “the sales rep for the luxury travel industry in the ’90s.” She introduced him to her bespoke Paris and London properties. “Helen was our entry to the leisure and luxury market,” says Holtz. “Suddenly we had these big bookings on $80,000 trips; we kind of came out of nowhere.” The Smart Flyer hit its stride selling luxury travel to wealthy clients all over the world. During that time, the icons who inspired him to forge ahead in the carriage trade were Bill Fischer of Fischer Travel: “The first time I was seated next to him at a supplier dinner it was like, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool. I am sitting next to Mr. Fischer,’ ” recalls Holtz; and Bob Watson of Watson and Watson Travel: “Everybody loves Bob and they don’t come any classier,” says Holtz. Holtz also furthered his luxury business by expanding the scope of his own travels. “I started to hit the road myself, go to destinations that no one else was going to,” he says. “I’ve been to Estonia twice. I’ve been to Africa six times. Granted, a lot of people have gone to Africa but a lot of people didn’t go to Africa in the late ’90s.” Where’s his favorite place to travel? “Anywhere no one’s been yet,” he says immediately. Such an intrepid view of the world is useful in dealing with savvy clients, celebrities, lawyers and financiers who are equally curious about emerging destinations. “We like to dig a little bit deeper,” adds Holtz. “I’ve been to Bhutan three times, so

SMArTFlyer Owner/CEO: Michael Holtz (twitter. com/MrSmartFlyer)

Director: Erina Pindar (twitter.com/ MissSmartFlyer)

Annual Volume: $45 million Number of Agents: 15 in New York office; 50 to 60 affiliates around the country Business Mix: 50/50 corporate and leisure Affiliations: Virtuoso; Four Seasons Preferred Partner; The Ritz-Carlton STARS; Orient-Express Bellini Club; Rosewood Elite; Rocco Forte Knights; Park Hyatt Prive Online Presence: www.smartflyer.com; facebook.com/smartflyernyc; twitter. com/thesmartflyer; pinterest.com/ TheSmartFlyer; smartflyer.tumblr.com

APRIL 2013 | LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR

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Cover Story we’re strong in destinations like Bhutan and India. I was in Australia three times last year alone. A lot of our competitors are bigger than we are, but I think SmartFlyer is probably one of Australia’s top clients. I’ve gone to see a number of lodges myself and I’ve got clips of them on the Internet taken with my phone. That’s what clients want. They are still going to go to French Riviera but they also want something new and different.” He’s even more curious than before and won’t hesitate to jump on a plane with just a day’s notice to visit a place that’s piqued his interest. “‘That’s not possible’ is not in my vocabulary,” he says. “Even today, he is still like that,” Pindar quickly adds with a laugh. “He’ll hear about a new destination and he’ll say, ‘I’ll go tomorrow.’ ” Case in point: When The Dolder Grand relaunched in Zurich in 2008, management visited SmartFlyer’s offices on a sales call. “I was just blown away by what I saw,” remembers Holtz. “I had heard about the hotel but I hadn’t really focused on it since it was redone. I said to Anna [Roost], ‘I’ll be there Friday. She was

SmArTflyer STAff (above) From left to right: Justin Harrison, account executive; Stella Kaplan,

travel consultant; Darryn Weinstein, director, corporate; Fran Cutler, account executive; Jo Beth O’Leary, senior account executive; Joel Tankel, passport & visa coordinator; Michael Holtz; Melissa Gulotta, director, leisure; Tamara Gabra, client relations coordinator; Rob Long, director, finance; Jeff Traugot, senior account executive. SmArTflyer’S DirecTor, erinA PinDAr (right) on the Trails of Giants environmental golf tour,

planting her own native tree at Four Seasons Costa Rica.

like, ‘Really?’ When I did show up on Friday, she said, ‘You know what, I’ve been to a lot of agencies and a lot of people tell me they’re going to come visit but not many people show up that Friday. Thank you for coming.’ ” Since then, “the Dolder has become one of our key hotel partners on the continent and it’s probably my favorite hotel in Europe,” says Holtz.

The AffiliATe ProgrAm SmartFlyer has evolved by adding affiliates to its network; the program has grown to 60 to 70 strong; these are agencies that are independent contractors under the SmartFlyer umbrella. The first affiliate of SmartFlyer was Elite Travel International, owned by Stacy Small, who insisted Holtz join Virtuoso (he was previously unaffiliated). Small, based in Los Angeles, became an affiliate of SmartFlyer in 2009 and has become the reigning queen of social media for the luxury travel industry, with nearly 38,000 followers on Twitter alone (You can find her at twitter.com/EliteTravelGal). These days, Smartflyer is contacted on a weekly basis from interested agencies who have read about it in social media articles or noted its presence on Facebook. “They see us going to new and interesting destinations,” says Holtz, adding that the agency’s strong foundation in corporate travel makes it appealing to potential affiliates. Director Erina Pindar is in charge of the affiliate program and loves growing it with those from outside the industry. “I get e-mails all the time saying, ‘I am in public relations and I think I’d really love to sell travel, how do I get into it?’ I love helping. It’s not like I’m much older than they are but I do have a little bit more experience than they do and I love nurturing them.” The plan is to grow SmartFlyer further by taking what it has in New York and putting it in the other cities of North America. “We’re growing quickly in Atlanta,” says Holtz. “We’re trying to offer something just a little bit different, a little bit fresher. We try to be as forward thinking as possible. And you’ve got to want to have fun. This business is about having fun. We respect the establishment but our corporate culture is a little bit different and it works.”

40

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

Today SmartFlyer’s mix is a healthy split between leisure and corporate travel. Luxury FITs are the main event, complemented by adventure travel itineraries and trips to cutting-edge destinations. But corporate travel itineraries are also carefully crafted for the C-level business traveler whose life on the road goes beyond a car rental and chain hotel stay. “They are the captains of their industry, so their trips are treated like leisure travel down to the details but within a faster paced environment. They are still expecting that extra TLC that we give them while they are traveling for leisure.” says Pindar. Adds Holtz: “For example, if they are going to London, they are more interested in hotels like the Corinthia or the Four Seasons that really cater to the high-end leisure crowd, and we have those relationships in place to make it a very smooth transition. So if the client is coming over and he’s got two meetings and everything has got to be crisp; they can calibrate the stay to exactly what the client wants from the business perspective.” The details are important to SmartFlyer; in fact, the agency recently had a client, Mark Jeffries, a strategic communications specialist, come in to speak to its New York agents on that very topic. What’s stuck in Holtz’s mind the most? “He said, ‘You know, when you come to work every day, the scales are balanced. Don’t do anything to let the scale tip against you. You always want it to tip in your favor.’ That means anticipating what the client wants and getting back to the client before they come to


you. If the answer isn’t what the client wants, try to figure out a better way around. It’s always doing the little things that make the difference,” says Holtz. Back to that Facebook dynamic at play at SmartFlyer: Holtz says the agency’s activity on the site makes dealing with suppliers a snap, since those that follow him, Pindar and the official SmartFlyer page have full view of the agency’s image which gives them a sense of the high-end, unusual places he and his team sell. “They have an idea of what we’re looking for before we even have that discussion,” Holtz tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “They can scope us out, so they kind of know what we’re about because they see what we’re up to.” Pindar, who coordinates travel for clients, handles the agency’s affiliate program for independent contractors and maintaining the agency’s relationships with vendors, is considered the vital force in SmartFlyer’s social networking moves. She was born in Jakarta and studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to be a fashion buyer but realized it wasn’t for her. After getting a marketing degree at UNC Charlotte, she returned to New York City where she worked in public relations briefly before going to work at Linden Travel. People kept telling her she had to meet Michael Holtz and when they did meet, something clicked immediately. “I wanted to have someone I could learn from and when I met Michael, I knew that he would be a good partner,” says Pindar.

www.luxurytraveladvisor.com

At her first interview in late 2009, Pindar asked Holtz about the agency’s website, which was merely a static placeholder, and Holtz promptly and politely told her that her first assignment was to relaunch it. She updated the company’s logo, changed the name of the agency from The Smart Flyer to SmartFlyer and modified the colorful ’90s-style moniker to the one with cool grays. “I wanted something that communicates that we’re young and know what’s going on in the industry; something that says who we are online,” says Pindar. Holtz and Pindar use social networking differently. Holtz is friends with many of his existing clients on Facebook who comment on his posts. Their comments show up in their friends’ Facebook streams and that’s how new clients find Holtz, who has been known to produce $30,000 to $50,000 bookings from Facebook, while he’s still away on a trip. Pindar uses social networking more for branding purposes, seeing Twitter and Facebook as free billboards. People seek her out there, sensing a mystique and excitement in her frequent luxury travel postings. Different methods, but both Holtz and Pindar are influencers, says Holtz. “We’re not just travel professionals, we’re influencers in the luxury space and I think as things evolve, you’re going to see companies like ours do more than just travel. Restaurants are kind of onto this in that they want the right people in their restaurant.” In the meantime, Holtz plans on growing the business through affiliates (see sidebar) and within the Manhattan office as well. Last September he opened a large office on West 36th Street, which has what he and Pindar call “plenty of breathing room.” Indeed, there’s space for a pool table and a Foosball setup, which was a housewarming gift from Montage Laguna Beach. “We moved here on Erina’s birthday,” recalls Holtz. “He was like, ‘This is your birthday present,’ ” says Pindar. Today, Pindar and Holtz say they balance each other out, learning from each other. “Erina keeps me in line, she does,” says Holtz. “We get along,” Pindar agrees. “I’ve been doing this 23 years and I don’t think I’ve ever had a sick day and I have never not wanted to come to the office,” says

Michael holtz’s Favorite things “Wolgan Valley Resort in Australia is outstanding. It’s in the Blue Mountains—three hours away from Sydney; we try to include that in every Australia itinerary because it’s the ultimate place to go. You land at 7 a.m. and drive there, getting in around lunchtime so you really don’t have the early checkin in this situation. It’s a true wilderness experience and you can actually see boxing kangaroos. “The new Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong is the tallest hotel in Asia. The pool is on the 118th floor and they have this electric beach [on a wall panel] at the end of the pool with different scenes and you can see cartoons and people walking around on this magnificent beach that they have. It’s an amazing property. Bar Ozone is spectacular. “Of course, we also sell the classics. Mandarin Oriental is a huge partner of ours. If you look at Mandarin Oriental, it really epitomizes where high-end clients should go. It is small, it is growing strategically, and it’s got incredible customer service and great properties.”

Holtz, who even drops by on the weekends. “Coming to the office on the weekends to me is like going to the library in college. The phone isn’t ringing, people aren’t bothering me. It’s great. I love it.” He travels two to three times a month but tries to do so over long weekends because this jet-setter actually likes being in the office when the team is around.. “I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we have here,” he says. As for Facebook and other networks, Holtz feels it’s all still in a nascent phase. “We’re still in the early days of social media,” he says. “It always amazes me that people still say, ‘That’s for the young generation.’ A lot of hotels that come here want our counsel on social media, they want to know how to do it. The answer is, there is no right. There’s no wrong, either. Like anything else, it’s sort of a language. It takes years to learn a language. Social media has to be something that you dedicate yourself to. If you don’t want to do it you’re just not going to do it. It’s that simple.” g APRIL 2013 | LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR

41


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hOT LEADS Christine Hodder (christine. hodder@kempinski.com) has returned to London to take the helm at St James’s Palace. A newcomer to Kempinski, Hodder has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has worked for companies such as Regent Hotels, Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. Most recently she worked as the general manager for Aman at the Summer Palace in Beijing. www.kempinski.com

Four Seasons Resort Nevis is welcoming new

All CAribbeAn Cove suites have iPod docking stations, 500 thread-count linens, 50-inch flat-screen Tvs and more.

The Cove, Eleuthera

T

he Bahamas is celebrating the rebirth of an island icon. Last month, The Cove reemerged after a $30 million renovation to become The Cove, Eleuthera (www.thecoveeleuthera.com), a 40-acre luxury resort of cottages and villas. The new construction included two threebedroom residential villas, each with private pool and staff. A two-story Sanctuary including 20 suites was also part of the new debut, along with eight Bush cottages and Bar Tony, a bar built into a point reaching 600 feet into the Caribbean Sea. All rooms and suites have iPod docking stations, 500 threadcount linens, 50-inch flat-screen TVs and more. Significant improvements were put into the Library interior and open-air fine dining restaurant Freedom. A new 110-foot infinity pool overlooking

44

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

the sea was also developed. The resort debuted with total fanfare as guests feasted on Bahamian delicacies and were treated to performances from singer Aaron Neville and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band of New Orleans. Getting There: The Cove, Eleuthera, wants guests to arrive in true VIP style. The resort’s own private plane offers daily nonstop flights to and from Fort Lauderdale, FL, on its own Hawker 800XP. Daily flights are also offered from Fort Lauderdale and Miami to the Nassau and Eleuthera airports. A water taxi takes guests from North Eleuthera Airport and a Range Rover escorts guests to the hotel. Luxury travel advisors can contact Director of Sales & Marketing Margaret Paik-Thwaites (mpthwaites@thecoveeleuthera.com; 888-776-3901). —Meagan Drillinger

General Manager Sven Wiedenhaupt (sven. wiedenhaupt@fourseasons. com). With more than 23 years of luxury hotel management experience, Wiedenhaupt earned his degree at L’Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland. He has had previous work experience at Four Seasons hotels in Damascus, Doha and New York City. He began his career with Four Seasons in 2004 as the director of food & beverage for Four Seasons Hotel New York. www.fourseasons.com Ralph Aruzza has been named chief sales & marketing officer for OrientExpress Hotels Ltd. Aruzza comes to the position with more than 35 years of luxury hotel experience. www.orient-express. com


Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort has appointed Lauren Carr (lauren.carr@rosewoodhotels.com) to the position of director of sales & marketing. In her new role, Carr will be in charge of developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies at the five-diamond property. Prior to joining Rosewood, Carr spent five years with Fairmont, most recently serving as director of sales & marketing at Fairmont Newport Beach. She has also spent time working as director of group sales at Fairmont Washington DC. Carr’s career kicked off with Marriott International in 2002, where she held sales manager positions in New York City for several years before moving to the Renaissance Mayflower Washington D.C. www.rosewoodhotels.com

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45


The Pulse

KameHameHa Suite

offers views of the West maui mountains, islands of moloka’i and Lana’i and the Pacific Ocean.

Honua Kai Resort’s

Kamehameha Suite

RELAX We have your back Offering unmatched advantages and resources for Independent Contractors: • Keep 100% of your earnings • Month to month contract • Network with the best of the best • Outstanding supplier relationships • Negotiated airline contracts • No start-up fee • Support staff dedicated to your satisfaction • Enjoy end-to-end tech support

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800.274.2544 www.homebasetravel.com

46

LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR | APRIL 2013

H

igh rollers in Hawaii will want to make some room in their schedules to check out this swank accommodation. Honua Kai Resort & Spa’s (www. honuakai.com) Kamehameha Suite is a jaw-dropping luxury enclave on Maui. The six-room suite includes three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and dining room. Three and a half bathrooms round out the space. Top Digs: The Oceanfront Suite is on the sixth floor and offers views of the West Maui Mountains, islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i and the Pacific Ocean. We love the transition from indoor to outdoor space. Guests can lounge on one of the three sunbeds, whale watch on a chaise lounge, take in the sunset from the center seating area or share dinner under the stars. Note: There is 2,650 square feet of indoor space and 3,200 square feet of outdoor area. Inside, guests will find a fully equipped kitchen with stainless steel Viking appliances, including a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and microwave; Bosch washer and dryer; wireless Internet; flat-screen TV; a king-size bed in every room and one queen-size sofa bed in the living room. The resort sits on 38 acres of Maui shoreline. Luxury travel advisors can reach out to Susan Jackson (realestate@ownhonuakai.com; 866-967-2228), principal broker, sales director for PowerPlay Destination Properties, with questions. —Meagan Drillinger


SightingS

1 2

3

4

5 1. EnsEmblE TravEl Group’s U.S. Marketing Committee Meeting traveled to Ireland in March; they are shown here on the 2. aT ThE WEsTin Dublin: (left to right), Janice Maida of All Seasons Travel; Georganne Shirk of Ensemble and Ryan McGredy of Moraga Travel 3. aT ThE FiTzGEralD CasTlE hoTEl in Dublin: (left to right):

stairway at the Titanic Museum

Ensemble members Ryan McGredy of Moraga Travel; Kate Urekew of Circles; Ryan Ranahan of Crown Cruise Vacations; Karen McCrink of Atlas Travel Vacations & Cruises; harpist Fionnuala Monks; John Haskins of Viking Travel/The Cruise Shop and Robbie Gold of Travel Center Tours

4. Cap JuluCa hosTs: The owners of Cap Juluca recently hosted top travel influencers in their Manhattan home to cel-

ebrate the resort’s 25th anniversary. Shown here are Linda and Charles Hickox, Cap Juluca; Bill Fischer of Fischer Travel and Susan Melnick of Professional Travel Associates

5. valEriE Wilson TravEl sponsored the Make-A-Wish of Metro New York’s Annual Wine &

Wishes gala recently. Shown here from Valerie Wilson Travel are Carole Anne Hughs, Valerie Wilson and Ashley Lancer. www.luxurytraveladvisor.com

APRIL 2013 | LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR

47


Source LiSt editoriAl index Company/ Web address Bank Austria Kunstforum

Hotel Metropole

7

www.metropole.com page # 36

www.bankaustria-kunstforum.at/en

IC Bellagio

36

18

J.K. Place Roma

34

Korean Air

22

La Carbonara

32

Las Ventanas al Parais, A Rosewood Resort

45

Lion in the Sun

8

11

30

M Museum

44

Made for Spain

36

16

Manufacture de Monaco

36

34

ModernaMuseet

7

46

Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort www.montecarlobay.com

Advertiser index

Grosvenor House

36

Tivoli Sao Paulo

14

Vdara

28

www.vdara.com 36

www.modernamuseet.se

www.honuakai.com

Thyssen-Bornemisza

www.tivolihotels.com

www.mdpm.com

www.thegrittipalace.com

44

www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/home

www.madeforspain.com

www.kempinski.com/geneva

St James’s Palace www.kempinski.com

www.mleuven.be/en

www.fourseasons.com

Venice Biennale

36

www.labiennale.org/en/art 6

Victoria and Albert Museum

36

www.vam.ac.uk

17

www.jumeirah.com/GHA

Preferred Hotel Group

3

www.preferredhotelgroup.com

page # Helmsley Park Lane Hotels

AM Resorts

Seabourn www.seabourn.com

www.lioninthesun.net

www.fairmont.com/montecarlo

Company/ Web address

32

32

www.darkrome.com

Honua Kai Resort & Spa

Rosso Pomodoro www.rossopomodoro.com

www.rosewoodhotels.com

The Gritti Palace

36

36

www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html

Grand Hotel Kempinski

Rijksmuseum www.rijksmuseum.nl/en

www.lacarbonara.it

Four Seasons

36

44

www.thecoveeleuthera.com

Fairmont Monte Carlo

Red Star Line Museum www.redstarline.org

www.koreanair.com

Dark Rome Tours & Walks

34

36

www.britishmuseum.org

D’Orsay

Pronto Pesce Prontopesce.it

www.jkroma.com

The Cove, Eleuthera

36

36

www.visitberlin.de/en British Museum

Pompidou Centre www.centrepompidou.fr/en

Danang.intercontinental.com Berlin

20

Seoul.park.hyatt.com

www.icbellagio.com InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Park Hyatt Seoul

Cover 2

45

www.helmsleyparklane.com

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

15

www.rssc.com

www.amragents.com Hyatt Andaz AMA Waterways

45

35

www.andaz.com

The Signature at MGM Grand

27

www.signaturemgmgrand.com

www.amawaterways.com Island Destinations Aria Resort & Casino

29

www.arialasvegas.com Austrian Tourist Office

24-25

www.austria.info Crystal Cruises

13

www.granmelia.com

48

LUXUry TraVeL adVIsor | aprIL 2013

Monte Carlo S B M Hotels

9

23

Paradisus www.paradisus.com

46

Uniworld River Cruises

33

www.uniworld.com

www.montecarlosbm.com Omni Hotels

Travel Experts www.homebasetravel.com

19

www.omnispecialist.com

www.crystalcruises.com Gran Melia Hotel

Back Cover

www.islanddestinations.com

Worldwide Traveler

42-43

www.worldwidetraveler.com 37

Wynn Las Vegas www.wynnlasvegas.com

5


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