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In This Issue:

DG Amazing Experiences
Insider Travel Briefs For Private Aviation Travelers

Vol 2, No. 12 

Four “Right-Size” Suites In San Francisco, 
Why Use A Travel Advisor,
Suite of the Week - Queen Mary 2, and 
A Pool Fit For The King (Of Morocco)

Check-out Our DGAE Library featuring:

Insider previews of top suites and villas at hotels and resorts in Brazil, the Caribbean, China, England, France, Greece, Hawaii, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Las Vegas, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Miami, New York, Nicaragua, Oman, Portugal, Switzerland, Seychelles, Spain, Tahiti, Thailand, Turkey, St. Barts, Vietnam, etc., and aboard Crystal Esprit, The Haven on Norwegian Breakaway and Regent Seven Seas Explorer

August 2016

Presidential Private Jet Vacations

Why Use A Travel Advisor
The trend in suites is to be bigger and more expensive, and there are many beautiful ones worth the money. In fact, most magazines and media focus on biggest and most expensive. I can plead guilty. When I was Editor-in-Chief of Elite Traveler, we started an annual 101 Top Suites list, and size and expense definitely carried weight. I also know you enjoy them. Many of you read the item on a $75,000 suite in New York, one of the most popular stories in the DGAE Library

At the same time, many times when traveling, particularly to cities or for business, you just don’t want a 4,000 or 8,000-sq. ft. suite. This past week I attended Virtuoso Travel Week, an annual gathering of over 2,000 travel advisors who specialize in luxury, held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. As I was chatting with various advisors about favorite suites and villas they had recently visited, they weren’t always the biggest or most expensive suite at a hotel or resort.

One of the reasons to use a travel advisor is that the good ones know the hotels they are selling, and they will put you in the right room or suite, based on whatever your needs are. If you are with the family, they will know the ones close to all the activities. If you are on a romantic retreat, they know the villas where other people can’t see into your private pool. They also know the villas and suites that get noise from the restaurant late at night or early in the morning, or look out onto the loading dock, or have obstructed views. This type of information is almost never available on hotel websites, and is rarely covering in travel articles, except, well, here in this newsletter.
Good advisors also have personal relationships with the General Managers of the hotels where they send clients. In a hotel, the GM typically has the authority to make exceptions that can be the difference between a bad, good or great stay. One advisor, Anne Scully of McCabe World Travel has a saying, “You can’t VIP yourself,” and while for some of you that might not be true, it usually gets you further when a third party does it for you, particularly when that third party is a travel advisor who already produces hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in bookings for that hotel you are going to.

During the conference I caught up with Stacy Small, founder of Elite Travel International. Stacy splits her time between Maui and Los Angeles, and recently was in San Francisco checking out hotels for her clients. In this issue I give you her four top choices for “right-sized” suites, so instead of the Presidential Suites, suites between 800-1,500 sq. ft., offering more than a standard suite.  

I was happy to get some nice feedback from some of the aviation professionals who read this newsletter about last week’s column with tips on how flight crews can increase their security awareness. Business aviation employs over 1.2 million people in the U.S. alone and generates over $150 billion for the economy, and most importantly gets you where you need to go, when you need to be there. 

PS — We keep all past issues (lots of great places you will want to visit) on an easy to access website DG Amazing Experiences where you can find both newsletters and special reports.

Thanks for reading. I hope all your trips are amazing experiences!

All the best,

DG Amazing Experiences
Please Note - DG Amazing Experiences is not commercially affiliated with any of the resorts we profile or travel advisors we reference.

Northrop & Johnson

Former Ritz-Carlton exec Bruce Himelstein teaches leadership

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

Recommended Reading:

     Former Ritz-Carlton CMO Bruce Himelstein on Disruption

    Northrop & Johnson Yacht Charter 

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 refurbishment.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco Suite


Set 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 humongous suite.

“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 2-bedroom suite.

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

Don’t 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 hotel services.

There 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 six.


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 views.

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.


The views 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 Morocco

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.

Former Ritz-Carlton CMO Talks Leadership Presidential Private Jet Vacations 

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Presidential Private Jet Vacations

DG Amazing Experiences 
is by luxury expert Doug Gollan

Northrop & Johnson yacht charter

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
I've chosen you to receive  DG Amazing Experiences  because I believe you share my passion for both business aviation and the best travel and luxury experiences in the world.
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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