Category Archives: luxury travel

Around the World on a Private Jet

Cartagena Colombia to Easter Island… Private

I’m not gonna lie. When I started going stir crazy, but I didn’t want to fly with a bunch of strangers, I started checking out private jet companies. Then, I went even deeper a few months later and looked into private jet and yacht vacations. A girl got desperate. A girl needs a dream. That’s when I came upon a big wild trip from one of my favorite travel purveyors, Abercrombie & Kent.

A private Boeing 757? Don’t mind if I do.

Most don’t know that Abercrombie & Kent was a private jet pioneer, introducing the first Royal Air Tour in 1989. Today it is one of the most experienced companies in the private jet business, having designed and operated dozens of programs on a variety of luxury aircraft to destinations all over the world, as well as custom-designed jet itineraries for multi-generational families and private groups.

Travellers who have had to put their passport away will appreciate their newest Private Jet journey taking off at this time next year, Around the World with Geoffrey Kent: An Inspiring Expedition by Private Jet (Oct 14-Nov 8, 2021). This one-of-a-kind adventure offers 48 guests the opportunity to explore the far reaches of the world alongside A&K founder Geoffrey Kent and discover lesser-known destinations on one expertly planned itinerary featuring insider access.

Vietnam, Ha Long Bay to Danang (Travel Day)
  • Discover Kanazawa, “the other Japan”, known for its rich cultural offerings, alongside a renowned Japanologist
  • Explore remote villages along the Irrawaddy River
  • Marvel at the natural wonders of Ha Long Bay
  • Meet with artisans at a private exhibit of ethnic textiles at a former royal residence in Luang Prabang
  • Relax in the Maldives
  • In Benin learn the secrets of African Vodoun (Voodoo) at an authentic private ceremony
  • Explore the white sand dunes and crystal clear waters of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil

To travel on an A&K Private Jet Journey is packed with insider access, fine dining, and invitation-only cultural celebrations. Sample local street food at festive neighborhood in Hanoi hosted by a celebrity chef; explore Kenroku-en Garden accompanied by its chief landscape designer, followed by a private tea ceremony. and learn the ways of African Vodoun at a private ceremony in Benin.

South America, Brazil, Lençois Maranhenses

You can also personalize the journey with a choice of Design Your Day® activities. In Hanoi, cycle around West Lake, meet traditional handicraft makers on an ethical artisan tour or visit a private art collection, hosted by the curator. In Brazil, explore Lençóis Maranhenses National Park by 4×4, boat or horseback; learn to kite-surf or paddle board; or simply relax on a pristine beach.

For hotels, you can expect classic luxury like the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and lesser-known gems like the Porto Preguiças Resort, gateway to Brazil’s Barreirinhas region and Mitsuno-Midori Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn featuring its own private onsen, as well as the luxe ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ an intimate all-balcony river cruiser on the Irrawaddy River.

Japanese Geisha

For those who want someone to carry our bags from start to finish, you also have A&K’s Travelling Bell Boy® which ensures that luggage is waiting in guest rooms at each hotel and complimentary laundry service. Prior to departure, save time with A&K’s White Glove Visa and Passport Handling, a concierge service that expedites visa and passport applications.

For this epic private personalized around the world 26-day tour, it’ll cost you, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, if you have the money, why not spend it on a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

$160,000 per person, double occupancy

Now who’s payin?

https://www.abercrombiekent.com/private-jet

Staycationing with Kids: Rosewood Sand Hill

Rosewood Sand Hill

Let’s face it. Traveling with kids can be a nightmare. I often need a vacation from the vacation because it’s not like parents can really be “off” when the kids are screaming that they don’t want to go to bed, they’re hungry, or they simply want to play with you 24/7.

Enter The Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park. It’s a favorite of Silicon Valley execs due to it’s close proximity to the major VCs, Stanford, and San Jose. Reflecting a mix of California Ranch and Tuscan architecture, the main lobby rises up from terraced land with large balconies overlooking the gardens, mountains, and pool. The grounds are, quite simply, stunning with a pool largely unmatched by other local properties. They also have poolside food and cocktail service right now so that means… get me to the Rosewood!

My first order of business? Poolside cocktails. Obvi. They make a delicious Aperol Spritz.

Aperol Spritz and a Strawberry Daquiri

Yes, their drinks are delicious, but expect to pay a small fortune for food and drink (anywhere from $22-$28 for a single cocktail). Inspired by San Francisco’s world-renowned cocktail culture, Madera’s menu consists of a mix of classic favorites and innovative concoctions (like a modern take on the Gin and Tonic with Elderflower Liquor) created by cocktail craftsman Oreste Catenacci to emulate the spirit of the Bay Area.

Modern G&T

The hotel charges anywhere from $650-$800/night for a standard room, so this isn’t a place you go to save money. It’s a place you go to splurge. However, they do have deals like the one I took advantage of — 3 nights for the price of 2 — with two nights where you get $100 resort credit (to help ease the pain of spending $24 for a cocktail and $25 for a bagel with lox). It worked. On top of the lovely cocktail service and even lovelier staff, they also deliver cocktails to your room. Do you notice a trend with this mom of two young boys?

Negroni Room Service!

This little Negroni delivered by room service held enough for two cocktails and was one of the best Negronis I’ve had in years. It’s now my go to summer/early fall beverage. If you’re also like me and your favorite part of staying at a hotel is holing up in the room, they offer luxe Le Labo bath amenities and amenities for kids like this cute miniature robe, backpack, and water bottle.

Amenities for the little ones

My friend and I ate dinner in the Madera Lounge one of the last nights there and we enjoyed the warm night and beautiful grounds. The Artichoke with valbreso feta, almond, and naan ($14) was tasty and I also ordered the Farmers’ Market Bowl ($20) with grilled brentwood corn, brokaw avocado, tomato, cotija, cilantro, harissa, and lime vinaigrette. I added salmon, but would skip that part next time as they couldn’t quite get the salmon cooked to my taste. It was far too raw the first (and second) time around when I had to sent it back again. The couple sitting at the table next to us also sent it back for the same reason. That said, the next day when I ordered the Smoked Salmon Tartine ($25) with ricotta, celery, caperberry, and dill it was so good that my friend and I were still thinking about it the next day. My mouth is watering thinking about it now.

My son, Zeus, with fellow luxe travel junkie and friend, Jessica

All in all, for a quick local escape with a clean stunning pool, delicious drinks, and superb staff, I give it a big thumb’s up. Look for deals where you get a free night or resort credit and you’ll live like a Queen or King for a few days without regretting it.

Rosewood Sand Hill

Address: 2825 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: (650) 561-1500

                    

Discovering Provence: The French Riviera

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The Lavender Fields of Provence

Cézanne, Van Gogh, Chagall, and Matisse all drew inspiration from the storied beauty of Provence, and now savvy travelers can as well on a new, affordably-priced 12-day small group tour with Odysseys Unlimited: Discovering Provence with the French Riviera. From billowy lavender fields to rose-hued salt marshes, hilltop villages to medieval towns, and traditional cowboy ranches to the French Riviera, the small group tour relishes la vie Provençale with visits to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, and the quintessential Provençal villages of Lourmarin, Rousillon, Les Baux ,and Saint-Rémy; along with the Camargue region, Avignon, and Nice.

Six-time honoree of Travel +Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operators award, I like Odysseys Unlimited approach with small groups, limited to 12 – 24 traveling companions, and led by top-rated tour directors with a balanced mix of guided tour and time for independent exploration. There’s nothing worse than never having a moment to relax. The company’s tour directors illuminate historic sites such as Cézanne’s atelier in Aix, the Pont du Gard and the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) in Avignon, and the UNESCO sites of Roman Arles, while also allowing ample time to stop and smell the sunflowers. Or the lavender.

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The sights of Provence

Small group highlights abound, including a private cooking class from a local Provençal chef, dinner and a wine tasting at a vineyard, a visit to a working manade (traditional ranch) in the Camargue, and a stay at a converted 17th-century convent.

Priced from $3,997 total price from Boston and New York ($3,495 air and land inclusive plus $502 airline taxes and departure fees), and slightly higher from other gateway cities, Odysseys Unlimited’s 12-day Discovering Provence with the French Riviera debuts April 6, 2020, and has 12 departures through October 12, 2020.  There is an optional three-day/two-night extension in Nice on the French Riviera, from $245.

www.odysseys-unlimited.com

For a day-by-day itinerary check it out here:

Discovering Provence with the French Riviera

Hot Opening: Montage Los Cabos

 

MLC-Lifestyle-Santa Maria Bay Hero 3 (1)
Los Cabos, Mexico

 

When the much-anticipated Montage Los Cabos opens on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula this May, it could be the resort that helps transform an entire region into a luxury destination. Offering rare recreational opportunities courtesy of its prime beachfront location on Santa Maria Bay, it will also extend opening advantages exclusively for bookings made through an advisor affiliated with leading global luxury travel network Virtuoso®Virtuoso® is one of the leading international travel agency networks specializing in luxury and experiential travel. A by-invitation-only organization, it comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 17,500 elite travel advisors in more than 45 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

Guests who stay between June 1 and December 15, 2018 will receive a daily $100 USD resort credit as well as these complimentary benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, if available
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests
  • Early check-in/late check-out, if available
  • One-way airport transfer for bookings in Beachfront Suites and above
  • WiFi

MLC-Lifestyle-Santa Maria Bay Hero 3 (1)
Santa Maria Bay

On 39 waterfront acres, Montage’s first property outside the U.S. will provide walk-in access to the region’s finest swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Located on the Golden Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, the resort will honor the destination’s tradition of indoor-outdoor living. Its public spaces and its 122 expansive guestrooms and suites will frame the surrounding Baja desert and serene waters of the Sea of Cortez. Montage Los Cabos will feature native materials and an earth-tone color scheme to blend with the striking setting. The resort will offer an enticing blend of recreation and relaxation, including two pools and two tennis courts, along with access to The Fred Couples Signature Golf Course. Guests can also take part in wellness programs and enjoy treatments at the 21,000-square-foot signature Spa Montage and fitness center. Younger visitors will enjoy Montage’s immersive children’s program, Paintbox.

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Montage Los Cabos Guest Room

Montage Los Cabos will also feature an abundance of dining options where you can enjoy the region’s abundant seafood (our favorite!) and innovative use of fresh local ingredients. For you romantic types, the resort is aiming to be the perfect site for destination weddings with 5,100 square feet of indoor event space and more than 30,000 square feet of outdoor space.

So check out how to book the Montage Los Cabos through Virtuoso directly online or visit https://www.virtuoso.com/advisors# 

 

New Hotel Offers: Belmond Hotels

Maroma (c) Rafa Garete
Belmond Maroma Resort

Belmond has just announced a limited-time offer that we had to share. We first stayed at Belmond properties in Bali and, since then, they’ve been a top pick for any exotic retreats where service, style, and cuisine are top of mind.

Perfect for those who resolved to travel more in 2018, the Our Wonderful World for Less promotion includes up to a 30% savings across the collection of 47 hotels, trains, safaris, and cruises.

Booking terms vary by location, with highlights including:

  • A 25% discount on stays four nights or more at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, a dreamy retreat on the sunny, Caribbean shores of Riviera Maya
  • A 30% discount on two-night stays or longer at Belmond El Encanto, the historic property in the hills of Santa Barbara that will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018
  • A 25% discount on visits of three nights or longer at Belmond Charleston Place, an easy two-hour flight from NYC
  • A 25% discount on stays of three or more nights at Belmond Copacabana Palace, the iconic Rio resort with a newly reopened restaurant, Pergula

The full list of global offers can be found here:

www.belmond.com/offers

Our Wonderful World for Less is available for bookings made by January 16, 2018 for travel through May 7, 2018, so get on it!