Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Other Side of Cape Town

Yes, we loved Cape Grace Hotel and its central V&A Waterfront location. But, a few days into our South African adventure, we explored beyond this area of Cape Town and discovered what very might qualify as one of the most unique, special and romantic hotels I have seen in a very long time. Part of the Tintswalo Collection, the brand new (opened in October), 11-suite Tintswalo Atlantic overlooks the Atlantic Ocean from its location on scenic Chapman's Peak road. Each oceanview suite is individually decorated/named after an island worldwide (our Cousine Island Seychelles-themed room--seen above--featured aquas/natural hues, a fabulous bath with open shower, vintage-style tub, and unbelievable ocean views). Other worldwide destinations represented through color themes and decor styles include the Caribbean, Greece, Italy, Madagascar, Africa, Bali and Turkey. The WOW factor of the property extends throughout the public spaces, built from wood and glass to blend harmoniously with the natural environs. A lounge with overstuffed sofas/chairs and divine decor, a bar, wine cellar, dining room, an open, interactive chef's kitchen, and the decktop heated Jacuzzi pool all share the same stunning sea views. The staff, including Ryno, the executive chef and his wonderful wife Melissa, will make you feel as though you are an old friend within no time. Trust us, you won't want to leave. NB: Book through Elite Travel International and rates include daily breakfast, the first night's dinner (custom-created just for you if you like), VIP treatment and of course, some nice extra perks!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Crazy About Capetown

For all of you who have South Africa on your wish list, NOW is the time to go. The dollar's stronger than it's been in a while ($1 equals @10 South African RAND), the weather's warm and sunny through March, and there's an incredible range of things to do far and beyond the must-experience safari (from winetasting to visiting local townships to hanging out with the South Afican penguins!). Start with a few days in Capetown, at the Cape Grace Hotel. Not only is the 121-boutique hotel perfectly located on the V&A Waterfront, but service is unbelievable, rooms were just totally redone, the water views are excellent, the Whisky Bar hopping, and dining at Signal, the hotel's restaurant, is a must (the sole meuniere and the rib eye are among the priciest entrees at just $22-ish, half what either would cost at a top restaurant at home! Honeymooners will love the romantic gifts the hotel provides for them nightly, and kids are also catered to (we love the pint-sized bathrobes and slippers laid out for them at night, and the African story-time held in their honor). Book a stay here through Elite Travel International and we'll ensure VIP treatment by our friend Nigel Pace, the hotel GM. Not to mention, you'll enjoy lots of extra perks as our exclusive rates include daily breakfast, complimentary use of the hot spa facilities, 24-hour free internet access in the biz center, in-room work-out equipment, chauffered rides within 6 mile radius and your choice of a traditional afternoon tea for two or a glass of local Cape wine with snacks. NB: Several luxury cruise ships sail here as well so inquire within if exotic luxury cruising's your style!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

London Calling

It's a bit cold here in London (35 degrees upon arrival) for my tastes, but with the pound no longer worth double the dollar (it's closer to 1.5 at last look) it's a great time to take advantage of winter rates on offer at hotels citywide. The Chesterfield Mayfair, the sister property to its namesake in Palm Beach offers a 2-night package from 440GBP that includes two nights' accommodations, two tickets to the theater (you choose the show), drinks when you arrive and daily English breakfast. Or, if romance is in the air, surprise your sweetie with a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park anytime in February. Rates from just 309 GBP/night include daily breakfast at The Park restaurant, a bottle of Jo Malone Red Roses bath oil and a room scattered with rose petals upon arrival. The best way to get across the pond, in our humble opinion, is on Virgin Atlantic--Upper Class, of course. The individual seat pods are the only we've seen that allow you to recline with your feet up, even upon take off. The entertainment's enough to entertain you the whole flight if you can't sleep, and the fact that the seat coverts to a flat bed, well, need we say more? Contact us today for more information on these and other fabulous luxury London getaways.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...

With all of the terrific winter ski packages currently on offer, it's a great time to book a snow-themed holiday. If you haven't yet made end-of-the-year plans, check out the terrific offerings at Four Seasons Jackson Hole . Minimum stay requirements are being relaxed and options include both rooms and private residences. Book the latter between Dec. 20-29th and get a fourth night free. Speaking of free, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek has a fifth night free offer in place, valid over the holidays and all winter long. If Canada's calling your name, inquire about the four-night family package at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (inclusive of daily breakfast, an in-room xmas tree, x-country skiing, a Christmas dinner, even bedtime stories for the kids). Or, visit Vancouver throughout the holidays, and we'll hook you up with a deal that includes accommodations at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, wine flights for two and a $100 gift certificate at the nearby shopping mall. These deals are NOT too good to be true. Contact us for more details.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Want to travel but just not sure laying out a large amount of cash right now for all the obvious reasons? Hats off to companies like Crystal Cruises that understand what's happening in the world, and are coming up with creative ways to secure your bookings in a less painful way. For example, for sailings on board its beautiful Symphony and Serenity ships, Crystal now requires only a 5 percent deposit instead of a 10, PLUS gives you 7 days instead of 3 to hold a cabin before it cancels out AND allows you to outright cancel up to 45 days instead of 75 days prior to sailing without any penalty at all. These "ease the pain" booking modifications are simply smart business in these tough economic times and will go a long way towards getting people to think more seriously about taking a fabulous Crystal Cruise to Asia (ask us about the free nights being offered in Beijing and the double-category upgrade on select sailings), Europe (we've got the skinny on the best-priced sail dates), the South Pacific, Mexico and beyond in the days ahead. NB: We can also fill you in on how you can get a complimentary cabin if you round up a few "friends and family" to set sail with you in 2009. Contact us to learn more about Crystal's Value Sail Dates, itinerary options and exclusive amenities/perks we can offer aboard select sailings worldwide.

Sign of the Times...XMAS space at TOP hotels!

Unlike years past, hotels are actually PROMOTING the fact that they still have space available for our clients over XMAS and New Year's! Call it a sign of the times, but for consumers who were hesitant to commit to holiday plans, now's the time to make a move. Contact us for the inside scoop on rooms, cottages and suites available at the Ritz-Carlton properties in such destinations at the Bahamas, Cancun, Jamaica, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Florida (can you say Key Biscayne, Naples, Palm Beach AND South Beach). We are talking GREAT RATES and NO minimum stay requirements. If you prefer colder climes, we'll send you to the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek where your fifth night will be free or if golfing by the California coast fits your fancy, we've got amazing intro rates from the brand new Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. Don't delay, as evidenced by the twinkling lights I saw yesterday in Beverly Hills and the annoying holiday music I heard all weekend, 'tis the season! NB: Our rates at these ritzy Ritz-Carltons include daily breakfast and in many cases, a gift in the form of a $100 resort credit! Email us at for priority bookings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pretty Baby

Watch out Beverly Hills hotels, there's a new girl in town and she's a stunner. Officially throwing its doors open this week, the Montage Beverly Hills--staffed it seems entirely by former Peninsula Beverly Hills execs and employees --is a marble- and art-filled masterpiece that could hold its own in any top European city. Marble floors, Portugese-imported tile walls, a 20,000 square-foot spa (love the mud room and the co-ed mineral pool), 201 spacious rooms (love the sage-colored walls, chocolate brown accents, Beverly Hills-view balconies, 42 inch plasma TVs, fresh flowers, L-shaped sofas), a sexy rooftop swimming pool with $300/day private cabanas, the Parq Bar, the Muse restaurant, and a Canon Drive location just steps from Spago's (or Mastro's if you prefer). We've got amazing rates (inquire within) as a preferred partner of the property, and as a client of ours you'll also get breakfast, 24-hour flexible check-in/out, comp internet a $185 spa credit OR a one-way airport transfer and an upgrade if available at time of booking. Book a suite and the spa credit doubles or the airport transfers go round-trip, plus you'll enjoy use of a luxury car during your stay. Contact us for more details.