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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Richard's Blog

I've just returned from Europe where I had the opportunity to tour a number of fantastic hotels, new and old. I also spent time on two of Seabourn's ships, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Quest.  They are both wonderful and Seabourn continues to shine in terms of service and a luxurious product. The on-board entertainment is unbelievable, some of the best I've seen.  The ambiance suits my age group well!  The spa is fabulous on both ships.  Remember, you can book a day pass at the Spa and spend the whole day really relaxing.

I spent some time in Venice and stayed at the Cipriani, an Orient Express hotel. The best thing about the Cipriani is its magnificent pool and the fact that it's away from the busyness of Venice.  The summer crowds are reappearing, so keep that in mind when booking a more centrally-located hotel like Il Pallazzo or the Bauer. Also, be sure to get dinner reservations before you get there-I highly recommend Acqua Pazza in Campo Sant'Angelo.

Il Pellicano's swimming platform
Il Pellicano in Tuscany, near Porto Ercole was my next stop.  What a beautiful property, with a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean. I really liked the swimming platform that you can reach via an outdoor elevator--it's like a beach with no sand! 

In Paris I visited the Shangri La, an outstanding hotel that just opened in the 16th arrondissement.  It's absolutely palatial, with details and thoughtful touches everywhere, even in the bathrooms which are stocked with notebooks and pens! I saw Le Meurice as well, which has been renovated over the past few years and is looking great. Another great hotel I saw is the about to be opened Mandarin Oriental  with Philippe Leboeuf, the General Manager. He showed me how they've taken an existing structure and rebuilt from the inside out in order to preserve the historical integrity of the building.  It's unbelievable, with incredibly beautiful modern architecture and d├ęcor. The spa is simply the best I've seen in a long time, with an amazing swimming pool, which is pretty exciting in the middle of Paris!

Next, I'm headed to Hong Kong to see the newest Ritz Carlton property. Located on the 102nd through the 118th floor of the building, it's the tallest hotel in the world and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

In the meantime I'm catching up with other travel news- just read Mary Gallo's report on Bangkok and Bali as well as Susie Worthy's NoteWorthy newsletter, both very interesting as usual!

That's it for now!

Richard

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