A Guide for Those With a Passion to Travel in Style. LuxeGetaways connects with travel destinations, experiences and lifestyle trends to both educate and entertain today's passionate traveler looking for obtainable luxury travel opportunities.
Experience the Southern hospitality and elegant charm that have made The Omni Homestead Resort a premier destination for 23 U.S. presidents. Located across more than 2,000 acres of scenic Virginia landscape, this special resort provides timeless comforts and access to an exciting array of activities… one of our favorites, world-class golf! They have several more reasons for you to consider visiting this summer to tee it up with The Omni Homestead Resort.
It offers golfers with some of the country’s most challenging and historic fairways. Consistently ranked among the finest Virginia golf courses, these championship courses allow you to perfect your golf game on impeccably manicured greens while basking in the serenity of the surrounding landscape. Visit The Omni Homestead Resort, nestled within the overwhelming natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, and challenge and reward yourself with a golf experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
The Cascades Course
Regarded as one of the finest mountain course in the country, The Cascades offers challenging links set against the backdrop of Virginia’s breathtaking Allegheny Mountains. Sam Snead launched his career on this fabled Virginia mountain golf course, which has the honor of being ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” by Golf Digest. Designed by legendary course architect William S. Flynn, The Cascades uses its varied terrain to influence play, rather than dictate it.
The Old Course
The Omni Homestead Resort’s Old Course was completed in 1892 and is distinguished as home of the nation’s oldest first tee in continuous use. As the game has evolved over time, so too has the Old Course – updates by William S. Flynn and Rees Jones have kept pace with the times. Abundant fairway contouring gives most shots a side hill, uphill, or downhill lie to smallish greens, making approach shots interesting.
Plan Your Visit
Both courses have a clubhouse and offer short-game practice facilities and driving ranges. Callaway rental clubs are available along with private lessons. Guests that book a birthday stay on property also receive a complimentary round of golf. Summer rates extend through August 31, and are $135 for the Old Course and $275 for The Cascades Course. The Omni Homestead Resort is a fantastic summertime getaway for the entire family with endless activities so inquire about all of their summer specials!
It all starts with booking a flight to Athens so that you can stay at one of the ideally located hotel options near Syntagma Square. However, most travelers want to also visit one (or several) other island destinations such as Santorini, Mykonos, Kefalonia, Corfu, Lefkada, Zakynthos, Rhodes, Crete, Milos, Lesbos, Lemnos, Samos, or Karpathos.
So, how should you start the process of making your travel plans? We have you covered, and will help make this a smooth island hopping travel experience that you will not soon forget. It all begins with a stay at Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel. The hotel has a lot to offer, including the newly remodeled Executive Club Suite, Luxury Club Rooms, Luxury Rooms, and refreshed public spaces. This hotel is the perfect solution for the first and last night in Greece, complete with plenty of island hopping in the middle.
Start & End in Athens
Enjoy a few days in Athens. Then hire a cab to the airport the night before your first island hopping flight. Check-in to Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel so you will already be ready to fly the following day, but note that this is a very popular option so reservations are a must. This hotel is the only one at Athens International Airport, and directly across the street from arrivals, so you are only a short walk away. By staying overnight before your flight, you will avoid the morning traffic and the 30-minute ride (or more) from Athens. You can easily catch a morning flight to an island paradise of your choice, and will be enjoying the pool and views of the sea before lunchtime.
Flights To The Greek Islands
Many Greek Islands have airports, although some islands are only accessible by ferry. For example, to visit the island of Ios you can fly into Santorini and catch a short scheduled ferry to Ios, or a longer ferry ride will get you there from Pireus, the port of Athens. The number of flights to choose from depends on popularity, so an island like Santorini has more flights available. The two main airlines to research for your flight reservations from Athens International (ATH) to the different islands are Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. Your options are endless…
About Sofitel Athens
Arriving during the warm temperatures of summer of fall, stepping onto the hotel’s air conditioning cool tile floors is one of the simple pleasures of Greece travel. Friendly staff is there to greet you, followed by an efficient and quick check-in. The hotel has completed an impressive renovation of the rooms, suites and public areas that now showcase a sleek style with clean lines. All 345 rooms are soundproof to cut down on the airport noise, and there are two executive floors that we highly recommend, as well as 12 suites, and one presidential suite. The beds are the incredibly comfortable, but supportive signature Sofitel “MyBed” that you are sure to love. You can settle into this chic room and relax after an elegant dinner at Karavi, or bistro fare at the Artemis Bar & Pergola. The Executive Lounge is perfect for a quiet getaway to enjoy a cocktail. You must be booked in Executive Lounge room type for access to the lounge, but it is such a great amenity to make the most of your stay.
Tips & Tricks
If you are traveling with large suitcases, be warned that the airlines for these Island flights are often very strict regarding the size of your carry-on and checked-in bags. If you have not pre-paid for your checked bag before arriving to the airport, you will pay more at the airport. It is best to downsize to a smaller bag. Take only what you need for your island getaway, and leave a large bag secured at the luggage storage service at Athens International in Care4Bag storage. It is located in the Arrivals Hall, which operates 24-hours. Note that Sofitel Athens is not equipped to hold your bags after you checkout. It is currently 7 euros per bag, per day… and it is worth every euro.
When reserving your room at Sofitel Athens, inquire about the Breakfast Buffet Package if you think you want a bit more than what is offered in the Executive Lounge. You will feast on an amazing morning buffet, which also offers the traditional Greek breakfast of meats, vegetables, several types of creamy Greek yogurts, fruits, and local stewed fruits, and jams. This buffet is served in the beautiful Mesoghaia Restaurant, just off the main lobby. Insider tip: Check the website when booking as they sometimes offer the buffet as a gratis incentive.
When you return to Athens from your island getaway, retrieve your bag as you walk through the Athens Airport on your way to check-in at the Sofitel Athens. Flights to the United States usually depart early in the morning, so enjoy a restful night of sleep, buffet breakfast and then only have a short walk to the airport for your morning flight. Do you have favorite Island getaways when in Greece? Leave us your comments and let us know where you recommend for our readers to consider for their Greece experience…
As part of their global partnership, Aston Martin Lagonda and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts collaborated on dual-branded activities for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The luxury brands collaborated to offer guests a one-of-a-kind weekend glamping experience in June. These global brand partners hosted interactive activities, glamping accommodations and even a VIP lounge for the iconic motor race. The four-year partnership came to life at 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019, and combined the exceptional standards of sophistication and service at the core of both brands.
An Unforgettable Glamping Experience
This year, the partners further elevated the Le Mans glamping experience with luxury accommodations featuring comfortable beds outfitted with Waldorf Astoria’s deluxe bedding, monogrammed robes and slippers, cable knit throw blankets, branded tumblers, charging stations and more. Each guest received a glamping kit equipped with eye masks, earplugs and a selection of Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries that are found in Waldorf Astoria properties around the world. The campgrounds offered luxury bathroom facilities equipped with spacious vanity areas, showers and full-size Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries. The glamping experience would have not been complete without a Waldorf Astoria spa tent that offered complimentary massages for attendees throughout the weekend to provide an added level of luxury and service.
“The most important element of this activation, as far as our partnership with Aston Martin, is to make sure guests are able to experience and understand both brands. This is the first year that we’re collaborating on the accommodations for Le Mans, so we really wanted to bring True Waldorf Service to life with our best-in-class accommodations and adapt them for this unique outdoor space. We are excited to continue to develop once-in-a-lifetime experiences in partnership with Aston Martin that have Waldorf Astoria’s service philosophy at its core,” said Dino Michael, Global Brand Head of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.
The Ultimate Suite
The Aston Martin Racing Hospitality Suite was positioned trackside to provide guests with the opportunity to interact and watch the race in a comfortable, lounge-like setting while enjoying Waldorf Astoria’s amenities including spa services as well as high-end food and beverage offerings. Guests were invited to unwind in the suite’s screening area to watch the race or relax on one of the custom-designed Waldorf Astoria beanbag chairs during the 24-hour event. To ensure the brand’s signature True Waldorf Service came to life throughout the race, guests of the Hospitality Suite received VIP amenity kits that included eye masks, Salvatore Ferragamo facial spray and body lotion, and earplugs that helped provide a comfortable resting area close to the action.
As a nod to the brand’s Live Unforgettable campaign, Waldorf Astoria was stationed trackside on the Aston Martin Racing terrace serving cocktail-inspired popsicles to attendees of the race. Live Unforgettable is the alchemy of Waldorf Astoria’s True Waldorf Service, iconic environments and its guests’ desire to live in the moment. Waldorf Astoria and Aston Martin brought these elements together to transform the routine into the unforgettable.
Other Exciting Global Partnerships
From exclusive guest access to Aston Martin’s most recent cars, to bespoke drive and stay packages in some of the most sought-after destinations in the Waldorf Astoria portfolio, the collaboration is designed to usher in a new era of luxury for guests.
Upcoming activations include Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience weekends, which presents hotel guests with a variety of Aston Martin’s latest models to test drive along carefully tailored routes. Separately, the Art of Living by Aston Martin program will offer one-of-a-kind packages, four of which will be hosted at Waldorf Astoria properties in destinations across the globe during 2019.
Waldorf Astoria is also proud to be the official hotel partner for Aston Martin Racing, providing guests with unique access to premium automotive events like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California (August 18, 2019), as well as other leading international auto shows.
Since Mr. C Beverly Hills opened their doors, this hotel brand has been on our radar. The high-end amenities pair perfectly with the boutique approach to hospitality… so we were thrilled to finally see the third Mr. C hotel welcoming their guests. The highly anticipated Mr. C Coconut Grove, the first Mr. C hotel to debut in Florida from the fourth-generation hospitality leaders, brothers Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani, is officially open.
Alongside their premier hotel, the brothers are additionally introducing their contemporary Italian restaurant, Bellini, which will be serving guests morning into night daily. The Mr. C properties are grounded in the prime metropolitan travel destinations of New York City Los Angeles and Miami, yet each strives to represent a modern version of old-world simplicity with European glamour, providing today’s traveler with a comfortable, elegant, and effortless experience that blends contemporary amenities with discreet, personalized service.
“We are excited to officially welcome guests to experience Mr. C Coconut Grove and Bellini in the heart of one of Miami’s most culturally-rich neighborhoods,” said Ignazio Cipriani, Founder/President of Mr. C Hotels. “Our partners, staff, and management are proud to contribute to the revitalization of the Coconut Grove community.”
Accommodations at the well-appointed hotel include 100 guestrooms and suites with unmatched views of Biscayne Bay and the Coconut Grove skyline from the furnished room terraces. From its interior, the hotel draws inspiration from Italy’s iconic coastal style and hints at the aesthetic elements of a classic yacht. Interior design includes high gloss timber paneling, leather-upholstered blue and caramel headboards, nautical style dressers, playful and comfortable sofas and armchairs in a range of soft and airy blue and white fabrics throughout the space. Acclaimed architecture and design firm, Arquitectonica, in conjunction with the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, combined the stylish European glamour and nautical aesthetic Mr. C Hotels are best known for with the tropical surroundings of South Florida.
The hotel offers a sprawling Presidential Suite to guests which includes a full-sized kitchen, dining room, living area, two outdoor terraces and two king-size bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. The bedrooms are also adjoining, making it a great option for families staying at Mr. C Coconut Grove.
Mr. C Coconut Grove has also introduced Bellini Restaurant and Bar to the neighborhood, located on the hotel’s top floor, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The restaurant boasts a refreshing new Italian dining concept inspired by Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani’s travels throughout Italy, and offers indoor and outdoor seating that exudes the intimate old-world atmosphere of coastal Italy while embracing a sleek and soothing Miami modern style.
For corporate meetings and social events, Mr. C Coconut Grove also offers guests a top floor ballroom with panoramic views of the Biscayne Bay. The space can accommodate a seated dinner for approximately 180 guests and cocktail reception for 250 guests, with an additional pre-function space. A flexible event space is also available in the hotel’s covered exterior ground floor for up to 750 guests.
Other property amenities include a rooftop pool and pool deck with private cabanas and a pool bar, state-of-the-art fitness center featuring TechnoGym equipment, personal trainer and yoga classes upon request, a Lobby Lounge, and a private spa suite with a relaxation area, sauna and treatment room which can be reserved through the concierge team. Upon arrival, guests will receive a complimentary Bellini while the front desk handles their reservation.
LuxeGetaways had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Jim St. John, CEO of Precise Hospitality Management after a visit to one of their magnificent properties. The introduction to this worldwide management company began with a visit to Iconic Santorini, a luxury boutique cave hotel in Imerovigli, Santorini, in the Cyclades Islands of Greece.
Iconic Santorini is the epitome of true Hellenic hospitality, with unobtrusive and impeccable service; where even your simplest wishes are fulfilled. We spoke with Mr. St. John about the details of the Iconic Santorini to learn more about Precise Hospitality Management, a company with a unique approach to excellence in hospitality. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Mr. Jim St. John, our latest star in the “Art of Hospitality” series.
LuxeGetaways: Hello Jim, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. Especially given that you are currently busy working on a project in Malawi. Please share some of the highlights from your incredible career.
Jim St. John: It all started by mistake. My military service was coming to an end while I was in the US Virgin Islands and I needed an excuse to stay, so I found a position in a resort hotel. Over the years it was my good fortune to be exposed to a standard of quality with RockResorts at Little Dix Bay, grow my F&B skills at the first Hyatt Hotel to earn 5 stars, and ultimately, help build and operate the first and only golf resort on St. Thomas and build and manage a great resort on St. John. Later in my career, the opportunity to serve as COO of the Jupiter Island Club, and later as CEO of The World (luxury residences at sea), allowed me to operate at the very highest levels of the hospitality industry.
LG: Let’s talk about Iconic Santorini. What makes this property so special?
JSJ: From the first day, while walking a closed and somewhat depressing property, the potential of Iconic Santorini was obvious to me. Complaints on TripAdvisor about the accommodations being dark, were soon turned into a positive experience by promoting the idea of staying in “a boutique cave hotel”. We were fortunate to work with an owner who saw the potential, and in particular, the potential of the people. What really makes the property special is that guests report feeling as if they are in the home of good friends, and that every detail has been tended to in advance.
LG: We can certainly agree on the gracious home-like feeling that pervades at Iconic Santorini. Please tell us about how the hotel property was created? As you mentioned, it’s a series of traditional cave houses isn’t it?
JSJ: Yes. Many of the accommodations were actually cave homes until the 1950s. Chimneys for these units still dot the property, and several of the water storage cisterns have been converted into indoor plunge pools. The Iconic Suite was the village bakery and we were able to restore the actual baker’s oven in the living room of this great suite.
LG: That is interesting and a resourceful use of what was historically there. What role has the ownership played in the success?
JSJ: We recently suffered the unexpected loss of the owner’s representative, Andreas Nauheimer, who played a significant role in the success of the property. Andreas was involved in many of the details that are almost unnoticed by the guests, but helped set the high standard that we maintain today.
LG: We have read the list of accolades and awards the property has consistently received, most recently the 2018 Haute Grandeur Global Awards for Best Small Hotel in Greece, and Best Boutique Hotel on a Global Level. How do you keep this momentum going forward and what does this level of accomplishment look like on a daily basis for Precise Hospitality Management at Iconic?
JSJ: We have placed a great deal of emphasis on guest satisfaction, and we do our best to exceed their expectations. Attentions to detail, noticing guest tendencies and personal communication with the guests consistently are the keys to outstanding service. Our staff has a commitment to this level of service. One of my favorite examples is when our Hotel Manager got on a motor scooter and searched the island for a particular flavor of ice cream for a guest.
LG: That is true dedication to a guest’s happiness. We also know that a property can have the best intentions and the most fantastic venue, but it’s the staff that makes the difference to the guests. Please tell us more about the staff at Iconic Santorini, including your food and beverage program that is unique.
JSJ: At Precise, we truly believe that the staff is the key to our success. When we arrived on the island, we immediately determined that we would offer competitive wages based on a six-day workweek, while the standard week is seven days. No one can sustain a great service attitude without a break!! In F&B, we challenged the chef to prepare authentic, local dishes using as many fresh products from the island as possible. We priced the menus slightly under the market and will prepare just about anything a guest might request.
LG: How did you select and train the staff?
JSJ: Our Director of HR came to the island, and after studying the employment market, developed our wage and benefits program. As mentioned already, we committed to a paid day off weekly, provide a great staff meal, and we go out of our way to accommodate special requests when they come up. When we interviewed employee candidates, we looked for natural smiles, the willingness to do what needed to be done (versus just “your job”) and a lot of energy. The opening staff helped develop the mission statement and their own credo for service. Training began in a formal setting, and continues to improve everyone’s performance to this day. We use TripAdvisor and other direct comments to review possibilities for better services, amenities and activities weekly.
LG: How do you keep the interest in Iconic Santorini strong?
JSJ: Iconic Santorini is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited. Being sure that our guests become our promoters is key to keeping interest up. Some of the best photos we have are from our guests and, of course, their positive comments on TripAdvisor are invaluable. Our abilities in reputation management (social media/the virtual world) are well recognized. We work with travel writers and bloggers to maintain visibility and were excited last year to be named one of the sixty-four most Instagramable properties in the world.
LG: Please tell us about Precise Hospitality Management. How is it different?
JSJ: Precise is different in several ways. First, we work for the owner, and we take the owner’s objectives as our own. We are not brand specific, nor do we recommend a brand unless it is in the best interest of the property. Our name comes from the concept that we bring the precise resources and team to bear on a project based on its requirements. This is an about-face from the standard brand and management approach that tries to fit the property into their format, instead of a focus on the property and owner.
LG: Would you like to give us a brief overview of some of your other Precise Hospitality Management properties? Perhaps the projects that you are working on now?
JSJ: We are currently working on opening a city center hotel with massive event capabilities in Malawi, a hotel and conference center in Zambia late this year, and are in negotiations to provide some expertise for a planned residential ship. At any one time, we try to keep our client list short in order to provide the best service and results possible for the project in hand.
LG: Will you walk us through the process of working with Precise Hospitality Management?
JSJ: Once we are contacted, we arrange for an in-depth conversation about the project. If appropriate, we ask to be provided with as much information as is available, and will sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) if needed. When moving forward, we generally arrange for a site visit with travel expenses covered by the client and quite often at no charge for our time. A positive trip/meeting is followed by a proposal for services based on the needs of the client. By keeping our client list short, our senior team can become directly involved as needed.
LG: Jim it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Do you have any final notes on Iconic Santorini? Secrets? Surprises? Or your favorite things to do there, besides just to sit and gaze out over the deep indigo water from your lounge chair – a glass of Assyrtiko in hand?
JSJ: The island is a magical place and Iconic Santorini provides a front row seat to the constantly changing views and scenes of the caldera. The wines are amazing, shopping is fun (even for a guy) and one of my favorite things is to head to Fira for some great local food at Nick the Greek.
Raising the international bar for luxury seaside resorts, Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam is on the radar of many an astute globetrotter who is searching for the next best jet-setting getaway. The region is a wondrous setting for a seaside resort with its 300 days of sunshine and a tropical climate year-round. The Anam is one of the region’s first multimillion-dollar resorts that opened in early 2017 and leads the charge winning travel acclaim since the day it opened, and for good reason.
The game-changer for regional Cam Rang is its new US$163 million Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR) with direct flights from multiple Asian and Oceania hub airports: about a one-hour flight time from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City respectively, a two-hour-plus flight from Kuala Lumpur via Air Asia, and less than three-hours from Hong Kong.
Soaring above its yesterday, today’s Vietnam oozes relaxed sophistication and a priceless richness underpinned by genuine smiles and extraordinary guest service. And the Anam is no exception. Situated on nearly 30 acres of lush natural oceanfront surrounds, The Anam exemplifies the ultimate unpretentious luxury getaway. With its picturesque white-sand private beach, open green spaces, superstar resort facilities, spacious villas, guest rooms and suites; restaurants and bars, The Anam extends the welcome mat to make happy days for all its guests.
Influenced by the French colonization of Vietnam in the 1880s, Vietnamese architecture, art and cuisine fuses two juxtaposed cultures that crystallize into an ‘opposites attract’ design vernacular, Indochine. The Anam design pays homage to the Indochine aesthetic through its imperial-style roofs, pot-bellied water vessels, reflection pools, bespoke mosaics and lantern-illuminated stone pathways.
If your concept of an ultimate holiday includes rejuvenation, delicious food, and participating in experiences, then look no further than The Anam…
Ready for a digital detox? The Anam might be the place to break up with your iPhone and digital devices. Like many of us living in the 21st-century an obsession with technology and connectivity is difficult to break. Nobody wants to miss out on the action or newsbreaks. However, studies prove (reinforced by common sense) that putting away these devices allows time to spark creativity and fresh thinking; enhances restful sleep and gifts time to enjoy the moment. For those not up to the digital detox challenge, The Anam has super strength WIFI, with compliments.
The guest rooms are adorned with crisp Irish cotton bed linens, goose down pillows and Sealy mattresses, world-renowned for their impeccable quality and investment in the science of sleep. Bespoke hand-made soaps and toiletries are other examples of The Anam’s attention to detail. Artwork by local visual artists decorates the interiors and provides further insight into the captivating Vietnamese culture.
Ingredients such as lemongrass, lemons, limes and ginger are harvested from The Anam Spa garden for use in the spa treatments and teas. The spa is all about high touch and low tech using age-old Asian healing techniques as part of its ‘Let your mind go, and your body will follow’ mantra. The Anam Spa has 10 treatment rooms including four VIP rooms designed for couples, steam rooms, saunas and spa baths.
Vietnam is one of the world’s preeminent food destinations noted for intricate tastes, textures and colorful presentation amplified by a bounty of fresh seafood, regional herbs and vegetables. For romantic dining and classical French cuisine, The Colonial is the place. Directed by Executive Chef Ye Chang Sheng who regards famed British chef Marco Pierre White as a mentor, The Colonial aims to create a Michelin star restaurant through collaboration and using simply the best ingredients.
“Great chefs want to collaborate and share knowledge to achieve a greater outcome. Our chefs and team are constantly improving methods and service to accelerate excellence and to create a world-class dining experience for our guests,” says Chef Ye.
Traveling to Vietnam, one expects the Vietnamese food to be beyond outstanding. The Anam takes authentic Vietnamese cooking five steps further with their treasured ‘Mama Chefs’ – five mothers of the resort staff members who don their chef hat and cook their respective specialities at Lang Viet. Mamas’ Cooking Buffet, the brain-child of hospitality-visionary Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, The Anam General Manager, takes innovation and inclusion to the next level by hiring talent steeped in expertise, the local Cam Ranh mothers – each with north, south or central Vietnam masterpiece dish. The mamas call the shots in the kitchen when it comes to their recipes remaining true.
Mr Laubichler-Pichler explains, “The value our mamas bring is immeasurable, and the good food is only the beginning. The mamas bring happiness to our guests and are inspirational to the younger staff.”
Rivaling the Lang Viet in popularity is newly opened The Beach Club serves burgers, steaks and seafood off the barbecue, wood-oven pizzas and hand-made pasta. At the Anam, there is something for everyone. Come and see for yourself.
The Anam resort recreational facilities are first-class: three swimming pools – one for adults only, a state-of-the-art gym, sunrise yoga, tennis, an exquisite white-sand beach with non-motorized water sports equipment or opt for a jet ski adventure, a 60-seat 3D cinema, and a kids’ club. That said, many curious travelers are fastidious learners with a propensity to explore beyond the property. Here is a selection of day excursions to spark your interest.
Explore the Nha Trang back streets and countryside on the back of a Vespa stopping off at historic sites, village markets, artisan bakers, artist workshops, and a hidden-gem coffee café. It’s a fun-packed way to learn more about Vietnam and its people.
Play golf at the Cam Ranh Links Golf Resort, a Greg Norman signature 27-hole golf course, which is poised to become one of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World.
Cooking day with Chef Dat
The cooking day experience starts with shopping for fresh produce at the Cho Vinh Ngoc market then on to Chef Dat’s farmhouse for a hands-on cooking class to create traditional Vietnamese dishes followed by a luncheon feast. You will learn recipes and new cooking skills to impress your friends.
136 guest rooms and suites
5 restaurants and bars
20 minutes from the Cam Ranh International Airport
There’s a new hotel in Suzhuo, China that is sure to create a lot of buzz in the coming months as it commands a prime location within the integrated GCL Plaza commercial complex at Suzhou Industrial Park. Adjacent to the serene Jinji Lake and within close proximity to Suzhou’s cultural attractions and entertainment, the hotel serves as a peaceful urban retreat for guests looking for world-class services and amenities. Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu will enhance the city’s luxury accommodations and service offerings. A draw for both leisure and business travelers, Suzhou is famous for its classical Chinese gardens and silk production – and is easily accessible by high speed train from Shanghai.
More About Suzhou…
Famed for its classical Chinese gardens, traditional canal water towns, and silk production, Suzhou has welcomed visitors from throughout China and abroad over the course of its 2,500-year history. While the city’s gardens were built from the 10th to 19th century, the art of the Chinese garden reached its zenith in Suzhou in the Ming and Qing dynasties, when the country’s elite created elegant homes and gardens as retreats and the city became a cultural center. Four of Suzhou’s numerous traditional Chinese gardens are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city’s historical heritage can also be found in the canals and half-moon bridges of the Tong Li and Zhujiajiao water villages. Since the Song Dynasty, Suzhou has also been an important center for China’s silk industry, and its silk weavers and embroiderers are considered amongst the best in China and once supplied silk to the country’s imperial family and important dignitaries.
Step Inside Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu…
Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu has 303 guestrooms and suites and 16 serviced apartments. Starting from just over 500 square feet, the guestrooms are some of the largest in the city, and will offer expansive views of Jinji Lake and the city skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows. Designed in a soothing palette of silver, beige and blue, the guestrooms reflect the many lakes and canals found within the city. An innovative sliding wall separates the bathroom from the living and sleeping area enabling a guest to create an open floor plan or segment the space for privacy. Guestrooms are adorned with art inspired by Suzhou’s famous gardens created with a modern approach to traditional Chinese landscape paintings, while brocade fabrics pay homage to the important role that silk production has played in the city’s history. The hotel’s concierge level Horizon Club Lounge on level 31 will offer exclusive amenities and services – certainly a great option for access to this first-class amenity and the ability to work with their concierge team on additional local activities to create the ultimate localized travel experience.
Travelers will be able to choose between two distinctive restaurants at the hotel. Shang Garden will serve regional Chinese cuisine, while the all-day dining restaurant Café Hong will feature live theater kitchens serving global fare. For those seeking an elegant escape to relax and socialize from day to evening, the Sip Lounge will offer an extensive selection of tea, wine, cocktails and live entertainment.
Guests can relax and rejuvenate in the Health Club on Level 7 with a 24-hour gym, indoor temperature-controlled swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam bath. The Spa at Shangri-La offers a selection of wellness therapies based upon the healing traditions of Asia – we recommend trying the 90-minute Chinese Wellness (Dry) Massage!
The addition of Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu will boost the city’s total event space with two pillar-less ballrooms at about 10,763 square feet and 4,133 square feet. Seven multi-function spaces and a boardroom will complement the ballrooms and all venues will be equipped with advanced lighting, audio and video systems.
Location, Location, Location…
Located in the new central business district of the vibrant Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu is part of GCL Plaza, an integrated commercial complex that comprises an international office tower, a high-end residence and a four-story retail space. The hotel is within walking distance of the Jinji Lake, the largest city lake park in China, as well as Suzhou International Expo Centre and Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre. The hotel is also within walking distance from the subway, making it an easy connection hub to major local attractions.
The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the SIP railway station and the Beijing-Shanghai/Nanjing-Shanghai expressway, the major thoroughfare which leads to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Sunan Shuofang International Airport. Travelers can also reach Suzhou from Shanghai via bullet train within 30 to 40 minutes on almost 200 trains daily.
Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu is the second hotel in Suzhou, China for the luxury Asian hospitality group. The first Suzhou hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou, was opened in 2007 and is also located in the city’s core business district.
Currently accepting reservations, Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou Yuanqu is offering a special breakfast buffet price of CNY1 (about USD0.15) for stays booked under the flexible rate from June 1 to October 31, 2019. Golden Circle members can earn double GC Award Points for each room booking.
Hawaii is a magical place. Just the name evokes images of crashing surf on volcanic rocks as the sun turns the sunset sky to a blaze of orange; or perhaps quietly sitting on a powdery sand beach watching surfers ride a perfect barrel to shore. Because of Hawaii’s popularity, prime parcels of land throughout the islands (many with majestic old homes) have been bulldozed and developed for hotels or divided into estate plots. This makes Haiku House Maui a rare find. To discover a stately historic mansion where you can stay while having full run of the entire estate makes for a uniquely localized travel experience.
On the gentle sloping hill of Haiku Maui, this privately-owned, immaculately restored, and spacious estate is yours for the ultimate relaxation away from the fray, but close to the surf town of Paia, the paniolo town of Makawao, and Haleakala Crater. Across the “saddle” of the Maui plain you can drive to the golf courses of Wailea and beaches of Makena; hop into the harbor of Maalaea to take a snorkel cruise to Molokini Crater or the island of Lana’I; or head out on a day-trip to Lahaina town and Ka’anapali Resort.
The Perfect Home Away From Home…
This gracious plantation-era home and estate is part of the land parcel deeded by his majesty King Kamehameha III in 1849 to Reverend Richard Armstrong. Now owned by the Chan family, the estate had relatively few previous owners through the years. In Hawaiian history the most notable (or notorious, depending on your point of view on the overthrow of the monarchy) was the co-founder of Alexander & Baldwin, Henry Baldwin. It was then known as the Baldwin Estate.
Privacy and serenity for their guests is foremost at Haiku House. However, a professional concierge and an event planner are available to handle anything that you desire. Want to flight-see? They can arrange excursions via Blue Hawaiian helicopter. What about a dinner party? Yes, they have top chefs available to prepare a spectacular private dinner or imu pit barbecue at the estate, complete with floral decorations and Hawaiian entertainment. Want to try wine from Maui’s only AVA? A private wine-tasting at Maui Wine with the owner/ winemaker can be arranged. They can also offer the best snorkel and sunset catamaran sails; ensuite massage and spa treatments; floral designers to fill the house with inspired bouquets; private car service and tours; caterers; personal photography and videography; Hawaiian musicians and entertainers; and can even arrange Hawaiian cultural practitioners to come to the estate to share and teach Hawaiian experiences like hula and lei making.
Refined Heritage, Redesigned Luxury…
Inside the gates, the long private driveway to Haiku House is lined with majestic Royal Palms. Approaching the porte cochere, the wide lanai wrapped by white balustrades around the house is graced by rocking chairs inviting you to sit and slow down. Through the entry door the grand hall greets guests with an immense display of fresh tropical flowers in the center of the exquisite Koa wood table. Removing your shoes according to local custom, you are ready to immerse yourself in barefoot luxury as the estate manager slips a lei around your neck and takes you to your suite to settle in. The estate sleeps 18 guests in 9 suites including an upstairs master suite with ocean views. The estate must be rented in its entirety as one unit so guests are assured of the ultimate in seclusion and privacy – having the entire house and 20-acres of fruit and coconut trees, tropical plantings, and mature Arboretum specimens to wander and enjoy.
Thoughtful and careful consideration of the interior redesign by The Vanguard Theory is a triumph, marrying the 1860’s architectural heritage design of the house with today’s aesthetic expectations. A restrained palette of grey, beige and shades of blue are used in the suites, with modern furnishings that create a feeling of uncluttered relaxation. The decor complements and enhances the original built-ins throughout the screened lanai and bar, kitchen, living room with wet bar, study, and dining room. Original koa floors in the house were refinished and look amazing. Antiques add historical depth and tell the story of Haiku House, such as the curvilinear antique koa bench in the entry hall. The curated oil paintings of Haiku, Haleakala, and “upcountry” Maui areas tell a visual story of the immediate area and offer a sense of place.
The architect in 1860 took full advantage of the island trade winds to cool the house in his original design. And the remodel continues this cohesive flow from the house to the natural world outside with the addition of the private sitting rooms with sliding doors in the main floor suites that open to the arboretum grounds. Updates include air conditioning and ceiling fans for still days, zonal lighting, and a sound system controlled in each room throughout the communal spaces.
Something For All…
More unique surprises on the estate await. In addition to the grand house, there is a huge multi-story tree house designed for “kids” of all ages, a stone fire pit with seating on the patio for enjoying a cocktail and re-capping your day’s adventures, a full-sized heated pool with ocean view, a citrus orchard and coconut grove, and an immense deck under the trees for yoga classes or an ethereal dining experience.
Haiku House Maui is a haven for discerning travelers. Corporate retreats, workshops, memorable family vacations, and a wonderful home base for a grand wedding at the Haiku Mill venue across the street are all good excuses to escape to this bespoke travel opportunity complete with an unforgettable localized experience. Unplug and let the magic of Maui unfold at your feet. Haiku House is an inspiring treasure; a very Hawaiian place, which will envelope you with aloha as you walk under the centuries-old arboretum specimens, breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds, and be at peace…
Carr Golf is always at the forefront of inventive and first-class golf experiences throughout Ireland and Scotland, and this unique travel package certainly has our attention. For golf enthusiasts, there’s a lot to love about this opportunity witness history at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush Golf Club and play some world-class golf links! Imagine how amazing it would be to experience this stunning dream getaway to the 148th Open Championship taking place July 18 – 21 at Northern Ireland’s famed Royal Portrush Golf Club. Start packing your bags…
2019 is a significant milestone for Carr Golf as the thriving Dublin-based company enters its 30th year of providing unrivaled customer care for groups of all sizes and select “one-of-a-kind” itineraries featuring luxury accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, fine dining, caddies and anything else needed for stress-free, extraordinary golf vacations. Deeply passionate about the game’s history and traditions, the family-owned company creates, plans and implements customized and unique itineraries that include tee times, luxury accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, fine dining, caddies and anything else needed for stress-free, unforgettable golf vacations and memories.
The Open Championship is one of the world’s most famous sporting events and returns to Royal Portrush for the first time in 68 years. It will also mark just the second time the tournament will be hosted outside of England and Scotland in its 148-year history. Joe Carr (Carr Golf’s late founder and one of Ireland’s greatest golf heroes) won one of his three British Amateur Championship’s at Royal Portrush in 1960.
“The British Open’s glorious return to Northern Ireland has created the perfect reason to book a golf trip,” says Marty Carr, executive chairman of Carr Golf. “Our tailor-made programs provide the chance to witness history at this summer’s championship, all while playing Ireland’s most beautiful links layouts.”
As an Authorized Ticket Provider of the Royal and Ancient (R&A), Carr Golf has exclusive access to this year’s final major. Along with attending the historic event, this exhilarating itinerary includes extravagant accommodations, tee times on Northern Ireland’s premium links courses, luxurious ground transportation and an unforgettable experience of arriving at World No.1 Royal County Down Golf Club in a helicopter. It doesn’t get any better than this…
The five-day “Dream Open Championship 2019 Package” from July 21 – 25 includes:
> A helicopter ride to a morning tee time at Royal County Down on July 22.
> In the afternoon, enjoy the spectacular vistas of the Irish Sea at Ardglass Golf Club, home to the oldest clubhouse in the world, which dates to 1405 AD.
> Accommodations for the remaining nights are in the spacious and scenic Cloughorr Estate, which overlooks Royal Portrush, where the world’s best will have battled it out the week prior.
> Take on Castlerock Golf Club the morning of July 23, the hidden gem of Northern Ireland links golf, followed by a stroll through the iconic Carrick-a-rede rope bridge over Giants Causeway – a fascinating assortment of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
> That afternoon, relish in the flavors of the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery at Bushmills Whiskey.
> On the final day, return to Royal Portrush Golf Club for the thrill of playing with the grand stands still up four days after The Open. Guests will also be treated to a private dinner planned by the Carr Golf Concierge.
San Francisco’s elite painted the town Virgin Red this weekend to commemorate the Grand Opening of the latest hotel to debut from Sir Richard Branson’s brand of lifestyle hotels, Virgin Hotels San Francisco. As you would expect with anything that is associated with the Virgin brand, the event was one for the record books, and celebrated both this amazing new property, and the city it calls home!
Virgin Hotels San Francisco mixes a passion for food and beverage with music and culture, fusing with the local landscape and providing a vibrant and inclusive environment for travelers and locals alike. Located South of Market Street, just steps from Yerba Buena Gardens, Virgin Hotels San Francisco features 192 Chambers and two Penthouse Suites; multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the brand’s flagship space, Commons Club; Funny Library coffee shop; numerous meeting spaces; and a rooftop bar, Everdene.
“San Francisco holds a special place in my heart, and I am so thrilled to be here celebrating the opening of the beautiful Virgin Hotels San Francisco,” stated Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group. “Virgin has made a lot of great friends and loyal customers here on the West Coast and I’m excited to showcase a new way to experience the Virgin brand. Raul Leal and his amazing team at Virgin Hotels have created something truly special in this dynamic and vibrant city. And they sure know how to throw one hell of a party!”
Hosted by Sir Richard Branson, who arrived clad in a retro red Beatles military jacket accompanied by revelers in an authentic Burning Man Art Car, the soiree was attended by singer-songwriter Ashlee Simpson Ross, actor and musician Evan Ross, singer, actor and producer Lance Bass, singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera, and actor Jonathan Goldsmithand actor/stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle. Tapping the brand’s musical roots, the event featured DJ sets from HAIM, SimiHaze, Alexandra Richards and DJ Sober.
“There’s nothing quite like celebrating a milestone like this in a city like San Francisco,” said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. “Opening a new property not only expands Virgin Hotel’s portfolio, but also lets the West Coast experience our Virgin Hotels lifestyle qualities – fun and surprising, yet always inclusive.”
The over-the-top event transformed the property from the ground floor all the way up to the hotel’s expansive rooftop. Attendees were greeted with psychedelic projections luring them into the hotel, where entertainers outfitted in Burning Man-esque costumes guided them into a sensory stimulating evening. Spaces all throughout the property were decked out to inspire a euphoric experience.
Virgin Hotels San Francisco - Grand Opening - YouTube