In This Issue:
1. Suite of the Week - aboard the Queen Mary 2
2. Four “Right-Size” Suites in SFO
3. A Pool Fit For A King in Morocco
4. DG Amazing Experiences Library Links
Our Security Reports (Links Below):
What you should consider before you get behind the wheel in Cuba
How to survive a terrorism attack
7 Easy Ways Your Flight Crew Can Improve Security
1. Suite Of The Week: Queen Mary 2, Balmoral Suite
A transatlantic crossing between New York and Southampton aboard an ocean liner is on the bucket list for many of us, same as the Orient-Express, etc. However, while luxury rail has actually seen a bit of a renaissance with new trains (Belmond is launching a run in Ireland), there is only one vessel that makes regular crossings of the Atlantic, and that is the Queen Mary 2.
For quite awhile, many thought the routing would disappear, however, Cunard which is now a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., the largest operator of cruise ships in the world, seems to be making a go of it. In fact, it just spent $132 million refitting the QM2 that took place over 25 days, where work at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg went on 24 hours a day, with over one million man hours.
The top-level Queens Grill suites and restaurants (as well as Princess Grill) were renovated and refurbished. If you have sailed on QM2, the Winter Garden was converted in the Corinthia Lounge, and a new specialty restaurant, The Verandah was added, with a focus on regional French cuisine.
If you like to travel with your dogs or cats, QM2 doubled its kennels aboard to 24, added a Pet Owners’ Lounge, an expanded pet playground, and even an English lamppost and
American fire hydrant, so pets from either side of the pond will feel at home.
The Balmoral Suite (like the Sandringham) pictured above is a 2,249 sq. ft. duplex suite, spanning decks 9 and 10, with large downstairs balcony, offering views of the ship, a king bed upstairs, two full baths, separate shower, and deep tub, exercise area and living space, including dining area on the main floor. Architectural Digest described the suites as “beautifully renovated, and “lavish.” The New York to Southampton run is either seven or eight days, and some people go roundtrip.
2. “Right-Sized” Suites In San Francisco
San Francisco has plentiful options when it comes to great
suites, and there are really nice suites in all shapes and sizes. Most lists we see focus on most expensive or largest, and while we like those, we thought it
might make sense to give you a few picks for great suites, the next rung down
in size for those times you don’t want a house-sized suite.
Leading luxury travel advisor Stacy Small of Elite Travel
International recently visited the city to scout out the best of the best for
her clients who include many in Hollywood and Southern California, and below
she shares her choices with us. If you are wondering why the Four Seasons is
not on the list, while Small likes the hotel and the group in general, she thinks this one is due for a
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco Suite
within a 1909 landmark building in Nob Hill, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is
AAA Five-Diamond hotel, and perennially brings home awards from the likes of
Forbes, US News and World Report, Travel + Leisure and so on. At 336 rooms, it
has five suite categories, the largest being the Presidential and Ritz-Carlton
suites, both just under 2,000 sq. ft.
Small says the one-bedroom suite San Francisco Suite is
her favorite for customers who like the brand, are looking for a prestigious
location, and want spectacular views, but at 800 sq. ft. don’t need or want a
“From the minute you walk in, there are spectacular views
out to the bay, Transamerica Pyramid and Alcatraz. It’s not about the size,
it’s about the style,” she says, noting small touches such as various hardbound
books about San Francisco.
Guests also get access to the Club Lounge, with complimentary
food and beverage offerings during the day, and the Club Concierge to help sort
things out. The living room leads to the master bedroom through French doors,
and there is an option to add a connecting King room if you want to create a
Parallel 37, the hotel’s restaurant offers a Chef’s Table as
well as a private dining room that seats up to 20.
Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square
confuse this with the Fairmont San Francisco on Mason Street. Fairmont Heritage
Place is a private residence club offering all the benefits of owning a
vacation home, but also operates as a hotel featuring premium residences and
are one, two, and three-bedroom residences with contemporary urban design in a
landmark building. There is a full private bath for each bedroom, The master
bath has creamy stone tile floors and dark wood cabinets. The living room
features dark wood floors, open loft-like ceiling, exposed original brick with
contemporary sofa and chairs, slated hearth-framed fireplace and 42"
mounted LCD screen TV. The kitchen is fully equipped and contains a Sub-Zero
refrigerator, Wolf appliances and built-in glass front wine refrigerator.
Located above the namesake chocolate store, a short walk to
Fisherman’s Wharf, Small says the hotel is perfect for families. She likes the
2-bedroom suites for the size and residential feel. “Suite 22 is super
spacious, and there were beautiful views of the Bay Bridge. It felt like it was my own town house
in the middle of the city,” she says.
The 2-bedroom residences range from 1,200-1,400 sq. ft. and
feature king beds in each bedroom and a queen sofa bed so you can sleep up to
Among the touches Small like is the living room fireplace, and hardwood floors in the kitchen and living room. There is also a communal terrace with fire pit (pictured above).
The St Regis, St. Regis Suite
The St. Regis San
Francisco is a high-rise tower combining residences and a hote, adjacent to
Museum of the African Diaspora and next door to the San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art. It is close to the Moscone Convention Center as well.
There are four main
suite types here (Presidential is the largest), with two St. Regis Suites,
Small’s pick, located on corners of the 19th and 20th
floors. She says, “It’s a great location for the museums or if you are
attending a convention.” At 1,500 sq. ft., she likes the size, noting the
Presidential Suite at 3,200 sq. ft. is also a good choice if you are entertaining or hosting a party.
As to the St. Regis
Suite, it features a large bedroom with taupe carpeting, a 55-inch
plasma-screen television, a fainting couch, leather-topped Barcelona-style
bench. The king bed faces a wall with three giant windows, providing sweeping
There is an oversize limestone bathroom, marble vanity with double
sinks, and a wall of frosted glass with two doors, one for the toilet and one
for the walk-in shower with a ceiling-mounted rainfall showerhead and
detachable handheld shower. The two St. Regis Suites face southeast and have
views of the financial district's skyscrapers, the San Francisco Peninsula's
hills, San Francisco Bay, and the distant ridge lines of the East Bay.
Loews San Francisco, Bridge to Bridge Terrace Suite
If you were thinking this hotel looked familiar, until last
year it operated as under Mandarin Oriental. It is now serving as a flagship
for Loews, which aside from The Regency in New York, is more typically known for solid upper 4-star type hotels such as Loews Santa Monica, as well as
convention hotels, such as The Portofino at Universal Studios in Orlando, and
once upon a time, the Loews Anatole in Dallas, now a Hilton.
Small says the Loews San Francisco had been extensively
renovated when it was a Mandarin, and she says overall, Loews has a good
reputation for service, which I agree, so combining the two means she is
comfortable selling the hotel for customers who want luxury hotels.
The hotel’s location in the Financial District is
good for business and leisure. Whereas many new high-rise hotels in skyscrapers have
the hotel on the lower floor, with expensive residential real estate at the
top, Loews San Francisco occupies the top 11 floors of the 48-story tower giving
it excellent views
If you want
a spectacular backdrop for meetings, there is 5,000 sq. ft. of meeting space on
the 40th floor.
are the main selling point,” says Small, who likes the Bridge To Bridge Suite,
named because the views span from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge. At 800 sq.
ft. she says, it represents a good choice for a single traveler who wants the
space of a suite, but doesn’t want to so much space you misplace things. She
also likes the Italian marble bathroom
with large walk-in shower and deep soaking tub.
3. Fit For A King In
In the world of hotel
hyperbole and marketing, which created self-awarded six and seven-star
properties, Royal Mansour, I can say is fit for a king, since it in fact was
built by and is owned by Mohammed VI, King of Morocco. Each of the 3-story townhouses (Riads) have rooftop pools. It’s been on every awards list you can think of, however, the one element lacking was a large resort
pool that could serve as a gathering spot.
The hotel is closed
right now, and when it reopens later this year, its footprint will expand by two acres,
featuring a 6,000 sq. ft. swimming pool, a combination of seven 550-sq. ft. and
900 sq. ft. cabanas, complete with air conditioning, toilets and showers. There
will also be an extension of the children’s club, and a Yannick Alleno
restaurant, an outdoor grill, a sushi and dim sum bar, and a bar and lounge
area designed to be an evening and late night gathering place. We’re planning a full Special Report on all the accommodations options this fall before it reopens.
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DG Amazing Experiences
is by luxury expert Doug Gollan
My name is Doug Gollan. I am a strong advocate of the private aviation industry. You can read my frequent coverage of private jets and luxury travel at Forbes.com.
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DG Amazing Experiences is your e-newsletter guide to the best places and experiences for private jet travelers like yourself. Each recommendation is personally selected by me with the help of some of the smartest and best travel advisors in the world.
My goal is to give you a look ahead at what's new, what's hot, and the best of the best. To make it easy for you, the stories are short, but detailed, and I provide plentiful links to additional, relevant information.
You will know links because they are underlined in red. Where relevant, I provide email contacts of top travel professionals who will personally answer any questions you might have. Key contact email addresses are underlined in blue.
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