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Category: Travel

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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Talking Luxury Home Rentals with Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande of Passepartout Homes

Think five-star hotels and resorts are the only accommodation options for luxury holidays? The ever-increasing trend of renting privately owned villas, apartments, châteaux and homes has led to a growing number of luxury choices for travelers accustomed to the very best. For some insight into high-end holiday rentals, I chatted via Skype with Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande, owner of Passepartout Homes. Currently living in London with her husband and two daughters, Paola is originally from Italy where she graduated from the Catholic University of Milan with degrees in Russian and German literature and social psychology. After working in...

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Singapore — Giant Little Island

Its People Today, Singapore is an integral, prosperous part of Asia known as the Pacific Rim. This island state has slightly over 5.3 million population (including about 3.3 million  citizens), including about two million permanent residents or foreign workers.. Its ethnic composition is about 75% Chinese ethnicity, 15% Malaysian, and 8% Indian. As many as 11 million transient workers visit Singapore annually. A considerable portion of its land, around 20%, has been reclaimed from the ocean since the 1960s. Another 18% may be added to its land base by 2030. Even so, space is tight.  Most of its population...

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Crystal Sails Into Asia

Combining the incredible luxury of Crystal Cruises’ impeccable service, superb dining and enrichment experiences of all kinds – with Asia is a recipe for enchantment. The Crystal Experience has been rated World’s Best more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history, and there’s a reason for that. From the outstanding appointments in staterooms and suites to the near telepathic, warm service, Crystal provides stimulation and cosseting in such measure that it’s a very hard act to follow. The line is substantially expanding its presence in Asia next year, bringing both the 922-passenger Crystal Symphony and the...

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Too-cool-for-school Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee

  Milwaukee’s  re-purposed 100 year old mattress factory is knocking them dead ever since its transformation out of the Industrial era into an urban, luxury hotel. At first glance the  Iron Horse Hotel, in Milwaukee’s happenin’ Fifth Ward nabe (just a short walk from the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum) makes you think it’s going to be too-cool-for-school, but it manages to stop just short and surprise you by being all about warm, friendly hospitality and cozy comfort. This uber-trendy, loft-styled boutique hotel manages to pull off an industrial chic, bad-boy biker vibe (complete with iron chandeliers fashioned from motorcycle...

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Cooking With The Cannibals

Meet Lance Seeto. He has become one of the most influential chefs not just for his food; but for his inspirational lessons of life, humanity and diet he has learned from an ancient civilization. The message he brings back from the descendants of one of the oldest but now extinct human species on the planet is clear – why is humankind so unhappy and sick? What is the meaning of life? And are the foods we eat everyday slowly leading us to a lifetime of disease? From the perspective of an entire native people, when it comes to humanity;...

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