This week on #luxtravelchat, we were talking about luxury beach hotels: what's fabulous now and what might be fabulous in the future. The topic was brought to us by @luxresorts, who have some truly amazing places to visit but more on that later (OK, you can skip to the end for a few photos as long as you promise to come back here right after).
Close your eyes and think. What was the most fabulous thing a hotel ever did for you?
This was slightly tamer than I anticipated - all very sensible answers. I was hoping the word fabulous would bring out some real surprises, but alas, I guess we are all easily pleased. That must mean there's room to shine for a superstar hotel!
@carmensluxtrvl kicked us off by saying "Hard to pick (1st world problems) but I'd say pickup service from the airport in a luxury car w/ champagne!" Not bad at all. @JetsettingBen may have topped that with "Make me a personalised dessert with my name on it!" What would the dessert be?
I personally liked my own addition: "Upgrade to a room with a terrace and its own pool. Thanks @ViceroyAI" Not sure what I did to deserve that, the gods must have been looking on me favourably that day.
Let me introduce another one of Concierge99's talented, interesting and friendly experts: British Tours, Britain's longest-established private tour operator, who chatted with us over Twitter in the second iteration of our interview series.
The only rules of engagement are to ask and answer questions within the 140 character limit & use the hastag #concierge99 to let others follow along as we chat back and forth over a series of questions on all things that make our experts tick.
I lobbed an easy one to @BritishTours to get started:
@Concierge_99: "Hello to the team @BritishTours! How's London treating you today? :)"
When they reminded us what cool customers they are, with a supremely-located office right in the centre of central London, in my favourite street no less, so forgive me for gushing in response:
@BritishTours: "@Concierge_99 Hello from Regent Street London!"
@Concierge_99: "Ah, I love that street & the ornate buildings on it <3 Great to have you chatting with us :) Ready for some Qs?"
So we got right into it after that:
@Concierge_99: "Ok, first up: Q1. How long has @BritishTours been in the #travel & #tours business?"
@BritishTours: "British Tours was established in 1958! Here's an oldie of the early days...#BigBen"
Wildlife tourism (of the "let's have a look from a distance and try not to disturb anything" variety, as opposed to "big-game hunting", which can't help but get bad press) has been a "go to" travel desire for people from all walks of life for a long time now - gap year students, honeymooners, people on a work break, people flush with a redundancy package, photographers, team-builders - you name it. But with so many options, what's the best way to do it? That's a question answered by our first article this week by @FlyingTheNest as they review some of their favourite luxurious safaris. They provide a ton of recommendations including the Ruaha National Park, where your 'tent' comes with your own butler and silverware and the outstanding Matetsi Private Game Reserve:
This doesn't seem like a bad way to live either, for either party. Possibly not the most natural:
Next up: Helsinki. I know Helsinki exists, but beyond that, I don't know much about it. If pressed I could reel off a few facts (hosted the '52 Olympics, it wasn't always the capital of Finland - Turku was for a long time, aaaand I'm out). Which is a shame. So thanks @YoungAdventures for enlightening me on how the city surprised you! In particular the depth and breadth of its cafe culture, its introverted nature, the Streat Helsinki food festival and its clash of cultures architecture.
Finally, I came across one place I definitely want to try thanks to @okfleming via @TravelLeisure: The Nam Hai in Vietnam, which recently won Mr. and Mrs. Smith's top spa award of 2015. Even Jeremy Clarkson agrees, as he said in 2009:
"If you’re passing, it’s worth dropping in. Actually, even if you’re not passing, it’s worth flying over there just so you are".
So what's so good about it? Well, I'll let this paragraph do the talking (I haven't even included the paragraphs on the hotel and service):
"But the “wellness retreat” itself, designed by architect Reda Amalou, is where the wow-factor really sets in. Described by Mr and Mrs Smith as a place “where Vietnamese chic meets cutting-edge design,” you won’t find your average, run-of-the-mill treatments here. Built according to a precise formula for zen, the spa features eight private relaxation bungalows that float serenely amongst lotus flowers on a koi fish-filled lagoon. Here, you are led through large French doors to an open air relaxation deck that juts out onto the lagoon, where a deep bathtub faces a cushioned daybed for two, and a vast selection of relaxing “rituals” and wellness “ceremonies” are offered. Each treatment begins with an oil-infused milk foot soak, and ends with you never wanting to leave. When Clarkson visited, he believed you could “get so relaxed here that your bones would melt,” calling it “the most astonishing spa in the whole world.”
I'll leave it at that.
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Concierge99 makes it ridiculously easy for you to find ways to treat yourself by finding treats and services while away from home, making it feel more like home wherever you are in the world.
This week I had the pleasure of chatting with one of our favourite experts in the format of a Twitter interview. That's right: 16 questions and 16 answers all limited to no more than 140 characters. We used the hashtag #concierge99 so others could follow along with the tweets and spent a great hour chatting about all things yoga, London and how Concierge99 customers can benefit from a little bit of me-time during their busy stay in this crazy city.
First let me introduce you to the lovely Emily Halton, who offers beginners, intermediates and pros Vinyasa and Hatha yoga classes in London in the comfort of their own chosen location, be that at home, in a temporary rental or even a hotel room. It's all up to the customer - what suits them best. And that's what Emily is all about: upon chatting with Emily, you immediately pick up how friendly, thoughtful and focussed she is, always thinking of her students, ensuring they are comfortable and relaxed, using humour to keep things light and not too serious.
Let's get into the actual conversations we had over Twitter and you can see for yourself what kind of teacher Emily is.
#TravelTuesday came flying around this week, arriving quicker than a supersonic passenger plane, with #TTOT (Travel Talk on Twitter) this week asking the travel community for its views on Airlines and Airfares.
A nice easy question to start us off, courtesy of @TravelAtWill:
Which airline makes economy flights better? How?
The team at @aardvarksafaris kicked off with a carrier I haven't flown yet, telling us "@flyethiopian econ has lots of channels & a widescreen to keep you & other people entertained on long haul" Those seats certainly do look comfortable:
Next up was @travelphotogiri, who reminded us that often for some flights, it doesn't really matter: "Comfort isn't my #1 priority on a short flight. Cost is." What's the cutoff for you @travelphotogiri? How long does a flight have to be before you look at other factors?
@tommyburson summed up his priorities quite nicely: "@FlySWISS mostly because of the free chocolate. A lot of free chocolate. Because chocolate makes everything better, right?" We agree, so we just planted a tree with @cffigrenada to help!
Siamac and Julieanne are avid world travellers, sun worshippers and enjoy sharing recommendations of treats they've encountered along the way. With this blog and Concierge99's Top 5 Guides, they can help you make the most of your travels, giving you an opportunity to find interesting and unique things to do wherever you are in the world.
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