Category: Travel

A Singular Vision – Luxury With A Past

A modern day steampunk fantasy has been resurrected from the industrial bones of an early 20th century cold storage plant in Southern Chile.  In this historical space, Singular Hotels now offers a 5-star luxury hotel and spa experience like no other.  The hotel is visually unique with its immense brick wall architecture, vertical columns supporting high ceilings and large windows that draw in every bit of sunlight.  Giant flywheels attached to huge pistons sit next to a complex series of valves that once regulated the flow of Ammonia.  Electrical generators that bellowed around-the-clock to feed the industrial heart of...

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Ecology Meets Luxury at the Mourtzanakis Residence Crete

I arrived in Crete in the middle of the night on a tiny plane from the island of Kos. I was on a double mission: island hopping in the Aegean Sea, alternating between Turkey and Greece and finding outstanding accommodation. My tip to go visit the Mourtzanakis Residence when it was time for Crete,  came from a very discerning Lebanese friend and I decided to follow the suggestion.Despite the late hour and my booking on rather short notice, the owner, Marcos, came to collect me in person. Nice touch. I appreciated the gesture even more, when we left the...

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A Broad Abroad, One Woman’s Journey -Book Excerpt – Bizarre Bazaars

A Broad Abroad, One Woman’s Journey by Mandy Rowe Book Excerpt – Chapter Title: Bizarre Bazaars Riyadh was a city with more than its fair share of markets, shops, souqs and malls, but the expat community – especially the women – had an insatiable urge for more shopping. Markets and bazaars popped up at regular intervals in the rec centres of some of the larger compounds, with customers arriving by the busload and shopping as if a war was imminent and they needed to stockpile. The largest bazaar was held on the first Monday of each month at Kingdom...

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Indy’s Plat 99

 My experience with cocktail lounges is generally limited to when I travel and have the opportunity to check out well known, historic, or new establishments. Indianapolis was not different. Norm and I had just finished a gondola ride and were scheduled to have pre-dinner drinks at Plat 99 before dinner at Cerulean. We could have spent the entire night at Plat 99. Its design alone was breathtaking, with contemporary architecture and blown glass chandeliers welcoming you into a lively bar and lounge area with an outside patio. If desired, you could just eat at Plat 99. Its menu focuses...

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Naples Luxe Life

Impeccable service.  Attention to detail.  A sense of passion.  The heart and soul of any successful destination depends on this trifecta coming together, in just the right way, to create a certain synergy.  Mix the ingredients correctly and you’re bound to yield a legion of adoring fans willing to sing your praises to nearly everyone they know. Miss one step, and your fan base evaporates into the lonely night along with your reputation. This is the story about a city called Naples, in Southwest Florida. A story about a place that values visitors so much, that the people in...

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Victura: the Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea

Victura: the Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea by James W. Graham Book Excerpt: Chapter 1 Metaphor for Life The day before he died President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, arrived at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas, taking a room freshly remodeled for their short stay. They had three and a half hours to rest and dine together before heading out for two evening appearances and the day’s end. Jack, sitting in a rocking chair, wearing just his shorts, worked on a speech and doodled on a sheet of hotel notepaper. Later, their public obligations satisfied,...

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Dubai: Rising to New Heights

Wake-up calls sound harsh in any language. But, they ring hideous when you’ve gone to bed just a few hours earlier, following 24-hours in-flight. However groggy I was, dawn beckoned and I had little time to waste. I’d traveled thousands of miles and was scheduled for a full day of touring. I glanced out the floor-to-ceiling windows, and then stood, agog at the glistening new city rising from the sea. The vista of downtown Dubai from the 33rd floor of Jumeirah Emirates Hotel Towers presented itself like none I’d ever seen before. The Jumeirah Towers, two sister structures, were...

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Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu—From Wood to Concrete, Elegant Luxury Always

Article includes videos below. My wife and I are partial to the old elegant hotels that were Canadian Pacific and changed to Fairmont upon purchasing that hotel group. Approaching the “Castle on the Cliff,” we felt we were stepping back in time. Starting in the 1850s, riverboat trips from Montreal, up the St. Lawrence River, to the town of Pointe-au-Pic became very popular. By the 1890s, large estates had been built in the Charlevoix area.  Especially one organization, the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company, turned this resort town into Quebec’s number one resort. From 1894 to 1898, the company’s...

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Magical Mayan Escape to The Viceroy, Riviera Maya

  If Robinson Crusoe won the lottery, he’d head straight to The Viceroy. From the minute you arrive at this serene, all-private-villa resort, nestled in a lush jungle tangle of ferns, palm trees and waterfalls, facing a shell-strewn, white-sand beach along the Riviera Maya, you know you’re in for an unforgettable experience. Particularly, after a unique welcome by The Viceroy’s resident shaman who encircles you with burning local copal incense to rid you of all cares. This is followed by a one-on-one with the Soap Concierge, who brings you a variety of healing, organic, seasonal soaps made by a local Mayan community. All 41 secluded villas feature a private terrace complete with an uber-comfy, handmade hammock, a good-sized, heated plunge pool (swimsuits optional) alfresco moon shower, high-ceiling thatched-palapa roof, 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, a pillow menu, and a hand-carved stone dining table. Further amenities include: A/C units, Nespresso coffee maker, purified water, Bose radio with iPod dock, HDTV and DVD player, complimentary Wi-Fi, and Mayordomo (personal butler) service. Chef Jetzabel Rojas amazes with her modern, international interpretations of classic Mayan cuisine, using only the finest local ingredients. “When you give time-honored traditions new life through innovation,” said Chef Jetzabel, “the palate is simultaneously satisfied with the familiar and tantalized by the exotic.” You can choose to dine at either of the open-air restaurants, the casual Coral Grill or the...

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Holland at Tulip Time

Last April I flew to Amsterdam to visit the tulip fields of Holland.  Unfortunately, spring had been cold and most of the gardens were behind schedule; the bulbs were not yet in bloom. However, Keukenhof, the world’s largest tulip garden with over seven million bulbs, did not disappoint. The 80-acre shrine boasts greenhouses full of exotic species and I understand some of the outdoor gardens have heated installations. Dull corners do not exist; the flowering fields are the essence of springtime. You’ll find no lack of photographers in this ephemeral place. Keukenhof lies about a half hour outside the...

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Go to Czech’s Moravia Region

In this last of three articles about the Czech Republic (see Prague, then Kutna Hora trips), we move on from Brno’s top-tier comforts to the south Moravia wine region of Czech Republic. The picturesque countryside becomes smaller villages built around agriculture. The region is a favorite of neighboring peoples’ of Europe for hiking and bicycling through old vineyards and chateau with cellars dating back to the 13th century. Registered here are two World Heritage UNESCO sites, the Palava Landscape Protected Area and the Lednice-Valtice Landscape Complex. This latter area is the Garden of Europe because of the landscaping and...

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