Travel Design Tips & Inspiration
Caribbean, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Saint Barth's
I am so thrilled to be able to tell you that despite the devastating winds of Hurricane Irma, the beloved isle of St. Barths is alive and well – thriving even, in shockingly green glory. It was such a joy to land and see how much the island has recovered from those hideous pictures post storm. Praise the fertile temperatures of the Caribbean. It was also a sincere pleasure to be down there and appreciate the beauty of the island in a way I had never before. My weekend was filled with early morning hikes and yoga followed by afternoons lazing by the beach with personalized picnics to boot. It was truly heaven.
The views from Petite Saline
Hiking at Le Toiny with the lovely Aminata
Of course, it’s not all roses. The damage is still evident, particularly near Pelican Beach, Grand Cul-de-Sac and behind Le Toiny, and the majority of the five-star hotel properties are shuttered until the end of the year with the exception of Hotel Christopher and Villa Marie opening in late February and early March. Some of my favorite restaurants (Maya’s, Bonito) remain closed though I finally went to Blue Ginger this year and wow. Yum. In good news, the villa product remains stronger than ever, the people are as upbeat and charming as always and the operating businesses are showcasing their innovative and service-oriented characters to the n’th degree – particularly Eden Rock Villas, whose pop up beach club (photo below) is a marvel, executed flawlessly, and WIMCO, whose catered beach picnic set up at the beach of your choosing (also pictured below) was a true highlight of my weekend.
Eden Rock’s Popup Beach Club on Lorient Beach
WIMCO Beach Picnic at Gouveneur Beach
Given the predominance of villas for this next year, I was able to tour a few spectacular ones with the affable and knowledgable, Guillaume of WIMCO. He took me to three top villas distinguished by their views, design and setting. Below is the view from the appropriately named, VILLA VUE. To say that setting on that deck is nothing short of vacation perfection is merely stating the obvious. For more details on specific villas, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am so happy to be able to confidently promote the island and help aid in its recovery with the support of tourism.
The view at Villa VUE
Hard not to have a big grin when you’re in St. Barths, and at Eden Rock Pop Up Beach Club to boot!
Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Travel Tips
Happy New Year!
Having combed the travel mags and their lists of “where to travel to in 2017″, I’ve made my own travel goals and for the first time, they’re not rooted in destination. Sure, I still really want to get to Japan this year, as well as Ankor Wat in Cambodia and Australia’s Gold Coast, but I also really want to acquire skills. Yes, skills. I want to improve, clearly and I want to grow and though travel provides the ideal backdrop to both those endeavors, I want to make more of a concerted effort this year to be more mindful about why, where and what I’m seeking to learn and improve.
Surfing in India
Perhaps this ambition is coming from my recent wine studies (WSET Advanced), but I’m thirsty not just for traveling to new places, but for specific experiences in such places that will teach me something new, something everlasting and moreover, something I can continue to pursue far after I’ve returned home.
So, whether its physical (surfing) or academic (winemaking), I’m eager to expand these interests and skills and allow travel to be the linchpin that promotes and enhances them. Cheers to 2017!
Portugal’s Duoro Valley
Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Travel Tips
If you can believe it, my recent visit to Las Vegas was indeed, my first. That’s right. Cherry popped. Alas, I wasn’t headed to Sin City for some typical, debaucherous celebration, but rather a week-long Travel Industry conference, Virtuoso Travel Week, set in Vegas’ mid-August swelter. Despite the 100+ degree temps, I strolled down the Strip (more like fought my way through the crowds), toured the various indoor malls (gloriously air-conditioned) and even headed to Vegas’ downtown area to experience its vintage-style glamour at an old-fashioned steak joint for dinner. Although I can confirm what I had always assumed: Vegas ain’t for me, I am happy to report the conference was a huge hit and I was able to meet some wonderful colleagues and travel industry leaders.
So, for all of you who trust me for my first-person opinions and personalized trip-planning skills on where to go next, I’m excited to impress you further having now acquired a broader arsenal of the industry’s top properties and providers. Oh, and if you want tips of Vegas…well, I’ll defer you to my travel writer pal, Mark, who simply loves it (for reasons I am still hard-pressed to understand).
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