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The Confidante Your Source for What's New in Luxury Travel
Summer 2011

Greetings!

"Sailing, sailing, over the ocean blue" should be my theme song for the last few months. It could be entirely coincidental, having been recently elected to the Virtuoso Cruise Committee, but my own personal travels have been afloat more often than not lately.

Since my last newsletter, I've experienced my first Seabourn cruise, and quickly recognized why my clients love this line so much. With 200-400 passengers, it's intimate yet offers a "big ship" feel. Service standards are truly top drawer, as they were on both my Sea Dream cruises last year, although the smaller (110-passenger) Sea Dream ships offer an even more ebullient "house party" atmosphere. I followed that with Silversea, to see how closely this line compares to like-sized Seabourn, and then on to Azamara, my first since it rebranded itself Azamara Club. I'm also excited to see that Crystal, my long-standing favourite line, has entered the all-inclusive realm of the other lines in this paragraph. There is no doubt that a bar is a lot more fun when there's no bill attached.

Much as I love ocean cruises, however, the greatest discovery was the gentle, nostalgic comfort of a European river cruise, the fastest growing segment of the cruise industry. We hosted our 2010 Reunion Group on Uniworld last fall, and my only regret is there aren't enough rivers in Europe to keep me afloat the rest of my life.

All these ships offer splendid Internet and telephone reception, so I hope you never even noticed I was gone! But gone I was, and at every port I was visiting hotels and attractions, "sites & sights," to better serve my clients.

Let me share my discoveries with you! Come, let's go!

Roger Kershaw

PS: Coming Soon - my New Hotels newsletter edition: the definitive source for all that's new and happening in exciting new hotel openings.

in this issue
  • Feature Destination
  • Seychelles - exciting new resorts
  • Toronto Island Airport growing
  • Taking luxury to new heights
  • Four Seasons and Fairmont Savoy reopen in London
  • Air Canada Express
  • Orion Expeditions on the grow

  • Seychelles - exciting new resorts

    Seychelles, the otherworldly archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, provides legendary beauty. In a total land area of only 175 square miles (about half the size of Toronto) are an incredible selection of luxury properties, with more opening every month, it seems.

    If it's good enough for Kate and William's honeymoon, it's good enough for my Clients!


    Toronto Island Airport growing

    Porter has opened a second passenger lounge at Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre ("Island") Airport last fall, equipped with an array of free amenities, including complimentary WiFi access, business work stations featuring iMac computers, and coffee, cappuccinos, lattés, an array of teas, soft drinks and snacks from the self-serve café.

    Air Canada responded this month by announcing everything from promotional airfares to free lounge access to complimentary in-flight beer and wine, when flights started here in June. Continental has also expressed interest, applying to be the third licensed commercial carrier operating on the Island.

    "Tiny" Billy Bishop (YTZ) is now Canada's 17th busiest airport, with over 100,000 flights and nearly a million passengers a year.


    Taking luxury to new heights

    The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong officially opened as the world's "highest" hotel. Located at the very top of the International Commerce Centre (ICC) in Hong Kong, occupying floors 102 to 118, the hotel is the newest addition to the brand's growing portfolio of 75 luxury properties.

    Guests are welcomed into the arrival lobby on the 9th floor before being transported up to the hotel lobby on the 103rd floor where they find panoramic views over Hong Kong. All 312 guest rooms offer city and harbor views.

    The hotel also has one of the largest ballrooms in the city at 10,000 square feet.


    Four Seasons and Fairmont Savoy reopen in London

    After a year's closure for a complete refurbishment, the Four Seasons London (above) is open again. All guestrooms and suites, restaurants and bars have been reconfigured and redesigned resulting in a stunning new presentation. The crown jewel is the addition of an entirely new floor, showcasing a glass-walled rooftop Spa blending sophisticated pampering with 360-degree views of the city and park. Chic interiors soar with light and liveliness. High-style dining brings the gardens indoors.

    Fresh, bright and inspired by Hyde Park greenery, Four Seasons presents a completely new experience in the heart of Mayfair.

    More...

    The Fairmont-managed Savoy (below) also reopened late last year after one of the most ambitious restorations in British history. The hotel closed in December 2007 for a restoration program that encompassed the entire building from the iconic entrance and the American Bar to Savoy Grill and the 268 guestrooms and suites.

    Established in 1889, The Savoy was the brainchild of the Gilbert and Sullivan impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte. Originally managed by Swiss hotelier César Ritz and Maitre Chef Auguste Escoffier, the hotel quickly became known for its glittering parties and glitterati guests


    Air Canada Express

    Air Canada has announced plans to rebrand its third-party North American regional operations (for example, Air Canada Jazz, Air Canada Georgian and Air Canada Alliance) as Air Canada Express. Watch for changes in livery over the next five years.


    Orion Expeditions on the grow

    Since their launch in 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises has become the leading expedition cruise operator in Asia Pacific. The introduction of Orion II in June 2011 doubles their capacity and opportunity to introduce our guests to new, and in many cases unique experiences in amazing destinations, while enjoying the comfort and safety of intimate (100 guests) ships and five-star onboard service. Orion ventures into locations where larger ships cannot access, nor could they bring their guests ashore.

    Destinations include the Russian Far East's Ring of Fire; the culturally rich Inland Sea of Japan; the energetic and charismatic Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia; the incredibly rich diversity of Borneo; New Zealand and sub-Antarctic islands that so few can visit; Papua New Guinea's ancient and primitive cultures; the grand frontier of Australia's Kimberley region and the Antarctic Continent.

    Just announced, a stunning Tasmanian Food & Wine expedition in November 2011. Shall I book your stateroom?


    Feature Destination

    Madrid

    Everyone knows one of my favourite cities in the world is Barcelona, and those who've been there tend to agree. But last fall, I finally made it to Madrid, and have added a new favourite to my list!

    Madrid is not a Berlin or Paris, packed with icons; the attraction of the Spanish capital is the atmosphere, the vibe, and those who spend even just a few days here cannot help falling in love with it.

    Madrilenos are out to have fun, whether that means people watching in Plaza Mayor, tucking into tapas at some trendy bar, lingering over a late lunch, or clubbing the night away. Visitors should do the same.

    The Old Quarter, housing a medieval warren of streets and alleyways, churches, bars and restaurants, is the tourist highlight, bordered to the north by the Gran Via, the upscale shopping street, and to the south by the Puerta de Toledo, a magnificent free-standing gate. Plaza Major is here, and Palacio Real and Puerta del Sol - the heart of the city - packed with handsome buildings and admired statues. To the east is the "Art Triangle" - three great galleries packed with masterpieces, and designer shopping as well as a Sunday flea market.

    We stayed at the beautiful InterContinental Madrid, with a complimentary Virtuoso upgrade of access to the Club Floor - an unbeatable value (with complimentary breakfast and snacks and drinks all day) in a great location. As one of six Virtuoso-affiliated hotels, and several other luxury properties in the city you are spoiled for choice. We found the city eminently walkable, exciting, inviting. The only language difficulty was that while trying to practice our Spanish, the locals always replied in English.

    Come! Go MAD. You'll soon have a new favourite city, too!


    This new Virtuoso-network affiliate can save you up to 80% on the cost of calling in 200 countries. Wireless Traveler provides phones that work in over 200 countries, so whether you are on a cruise, seeing the sights in Europe or exploring Africa and Asia you can stay in touch at affordable prices.

    There are no contracts or hidden fees and your Wireless Traveler phone is yours to keep for all of your trips abroad. It's ONE phone to use around the world: entirely free incoming calls in 60 countries, low cost outgoing calls, free incoming texts, and priceless peace of mind.

    More...


    Referrals welcome!

    The highest compliment my clients can give is the referral of their friends, family and business associates.

    Thank you for your support.


    "He who does not travel does not know the value of men."

    - Moorish proverb

    Cruise & Travel Links

    Crystal Cruises

    Silversea

    The Yachts of Seabourn

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises

    SeaDream Yacht Club

    Celebrity Cruises

    Azamara Club Cruises

    Backroads

    Hosted Villas

    Orient-Express Hotels Trains and Cruises

    Orion Expeditions Cruises



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    Newsletter Editor/Webmaster: Jim Lingerfelt - - Web site: http://www.rogerkershaw.com