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Travel Week: African Safari’s

The first official day of Travel Week was a whirlwind. My roommates and I got up super early and went downstairs to eat breakfast. My first day of meetings focused mostly on African travel. I learned about luxurious safari lodges and the best itineraries for both first timers and seasoned Africa travelers.  Safaris are getting really popular with both couples and families, especially multigenerational families looking for a little adventure.  Here are a few of my favorite African Travel products.
Mateya Safari Lodge – has five luxurious thatched suites with air conditioning, and is well known for its delicious meals including only the finest home-grown ingredients. Your open-air suite is the perfect place to star gaze as you sit by the fireplace.
Wilderness Safari’s – a luxury ecotourism on site company operating camps in Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to name a few.  They have done great things for the local communities and protections of African wildlife (like this cute elephant below) and will be there with you on your journey to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Mala Mala Game Reserve – The perfect place for game viewing and the location of many wildlife documentaries produced by National Geographic.  There is a 99% chance that guests will spot a leopard while staying here.
Singita – Family owned and located on the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Singita means “place of miracles”…. and it definitely lives up to its name if your idea of a miracle is excellent African game viewing, luxurious accommodations, and wonderful hospitality and service.
Molari Safari Lodge – A private and relaxing lodge with an exceptional culinary and spa experience, and of course, an abundance of wildlife!
Micato Safari’s – A safari tour company that pays for the education of a child for every safari taken.

Interested in taking a safari? Contact me and lets get to planning!

Travel Week Day 4: Hotels Dinner with The Dolder Grand

After about 7 hours of drooling over gorgeous five star hotels and getting to know their representatives I decided I needed to relax and unwind a little bit. Mostly because my back was so stiff from sitting all day, but also my brain was a little fried from taking in so much information. So, I headed out to the Bellagio pool on the hunt for a hot tub. One fun little fact about me is that I can withstand extreme amounts of heat compared to a normal person, so, even though it was 105 degrees outside I ended up sitting in the hot tub for at least thirty minutes. Of course I was the only person in there so I had a chance to reflect on the overload of information that I had just received during the meetings. In future posts I will write specifically about some of my favorite properties and suppliers that I met that day.
Now, on to the more exciting part of my day! That night I got invited to attend the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Dinner with Anna and Matthias from The Dolder Grand. The Dolder Grand is located hilltop in Zurich and has accommodated everyone from Albert Einstein to the Rolling Stones. Oprah recently tweeted, “I had a GREAT time in Zurich. Best spa ever @doldergrand. Would love to experience again.” If its good enough for Oprah then its good enough for me!…and probably anyone else on the face of the planet. I am extremely excited because in just three weeks I will be staying there for a night before I head back home from my birthday trip to France/Switzerland. I have heard nothing but great things about this hotel and Anna and Matthias are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met so needless to say I think it will be a great time.
At dinner I was excited to find the one of my favorite luxury travel gurus, Tiffany Dowd (aka LuxeTiffany),  was great friends with Anna and Matthias and also sitting at our table for dinner. I’m even more thrilled to be staying at the Dolder Grand now that I know that it’s one of her personal favorite hotels!
The dinner was “Great Gatsby” themed and opened up with a show of dancing flappers. I’ve had that song “a little party never killed nobody” stuck in my head literally 24/7 ever since this night and I’m totally okay with that.
After dinner and dessert we got another special treat…the group Mo5aic (mosaic – five members) came to entertain us. If you haven’t heard of them they are an A cappella group with a pop/R&B twist and they won MTV’s Top Pop Group contest and were Semi Finalists on Americas Got Talent. Click here to watch their performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. You won’t believe that there isn’t any background music or interments being used…
Here is one last picture from the night of some of my favorite Smartflyer buddies: Ginny, Pace, and Courtney.
Keep checking back to hear about how my visit to The Dolder Grand goes!

Travel Week Day 3: Islands and STK Dinner

After a successful morning of meetings I went to lunch with Janine and Anthony Cifelli of Janine Cifelli Representation and the rest of the Smartflyer Atl team.
The exclusive members of their collection were “personally hand-selected for their attention to detail, service, and unparalleled experience.” At lunch I had the pleasure of sitting next to David Stepetic, the general manager of a private island property in Fiji called Laucala Island.  Set on a lush 3,000 acres and previously owned by Malcolm Forbes, Laucala island offers 25 villas (with 1,2, and 3 bedroom options). The island has a golf course, equestrian center, and 14 boats available for guests to use to explore the 18 mile long coral

around the island.  If you are interested in booking Laucala I can get you an upgrade upon arrival (subject to availability), a daily full breakfast for two, one 90 minutes “spa journey” per person, and one private golf lesson with a professional per person.



Also at the luncheon, I was lucky enough to sit across form Sue Bosdet from Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, located a short seaplane transfer away from Vancouver near the village of Tofino on Vancouver Island. The resort is very popular with families and gets many returning guests each year.  If you love the outdoors this is the perfect place for you – kayaking, hiking, whale watching, fishing, horseback riding, climbing, and mountain biking are just a few of the activities that Clayoquot offers. Let me know if you’re interested and I will get you an upgrade (subject to availability) daily breakfast, and a 60 minutes massage in the Healing Grounds Spa on the property.

That night the whole Smartflyer team went to dinner with our friends from Park Hyatt at STK in the Cosmopolitan. While the rest of the crew ate their steaks I dined on bucket loads of gourmet mac n cheese, creamed spinach, truffle fries, fancy salads, risotto, and check out what we got for dessert!! One of the many perks of being a vegetarian is that everyone else fills up on their main course and leaves you with a tray of 9 ice creams cones all to yourself.
Dinner was really fun and I especially enjoyed talking to our Park Hyatt representatives from Nice, France and Buenos Aires, Argentina. On a side note I really want to find out who the DJ was that night because he had us all grooving in our seats and wishing we could stand up and create a dance floor in the middle of the restaurant.
Oh, and check out my awesome roommates!

Travel Week Day 2: Lunch with Karen Bull

I was invited to attend a special lunch with Karen Bull on Monday. Karen is an incredible individual, full of life and enthusiasm for her company, Island Luxe. She has been representing a collection of gorgeous properties along the Atlantic and Caribbean for the past 20 years. I have already fallen in love with so many of Karen’s unique properties, so, let me tell you about a few that I am dying to see!

At lunch a had the pleasure of sitting next to a man named Rufus Gobat, who was representing a property called Cap Maison.  I have always longed to visit the stunning windward island of St. Lucia and now I have a great reason. The hotel is set on top of a private bluff with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. I would definitely recommend an Oceanview Villa Suite with a pool and rooftop terrace.
Another great hotel that is part of IslandLuxe is Anse Chastanet, also located in St. Lucia. It is perfect for a secluded, romantic getaway or honeymoon and I was pleased to hear that they offer plenty of vegetarian food options.
Another tablemate of mine at the luncheon was Sonia Tejero, representing Eden Rock in St. Barts. Let me tell you – it doesn’t get much more luxurious than this. A long-time favorite destination of celebrities, Eden Rock St. Bart’s is an excellent place to get away and be treated like royalty.


Curtain Bluff is located on the southern tip of Antigua and includes 72 rooms and suites and a great all-inclusive plan.
Check out the rest of the Island Luxe properties and contact me to get more information and start planning your luxurious island getaway!

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