10.30.2014

Four Seasons Paris | within walking distance



Four Seasons George V has an enviable location if you're going to Paris to shop and eat. The hotel recently published a magazine article that details some of the luxury shopping, eating, and art museums within easy walking distance of the hotel.

Here are some of their suggestions:

Avenue Montaigne. Walk down this one shopping street leading from the Champs-Elysees toward the Seine to find Chanel, Marni, Gucci, Céline, Jil Snader, Saint Laurent, Fendi, Chloé, Ralph Lauren, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Armani, and Prada.

Framboise, 7 rue de Ponthieu, is a crêpe stand. The jambon fromage is recommended.

Ladurée, 75 Champs-Elysees, for tea, coffee, and their famed macarons in 20 different flavors, including salted butter caramel.

Hermès, 42 avenue George V, the more intimate of the two Hermè stores in Paris. Come here for an easier shopping experience

Petit Palais, avenue Winston Churchill, built for the 1900 World's Fair, has an art collection including works by Monet, Pissaro, Cézanne, and Rodin. Free and open every day!

La Maison de la Truffe, 14 rue Marbeuf, all truffles, all the time. The foie gras with truffle soup is recommended and said to be "easily packable and ready to make the journey home."

Artcurial, 7 Rond-Point des Champs-Elysees, is an auction house with collections on view before they are auctioned off.

Book the George V through a Four Seasons Preferred Partner travel consultant to receive these exclusive added-value amenities:
  • daily full breakfast daily, served through in-room dining or in the hotel restaurant
  • spa credit of 100€
  • upgrade if available at check-in
  • complimentary internet
copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

10.27.2014

a fifth Four Seasons in Hawaii

the site of the future Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina

Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina was just announced this morning. This is a take-over and complete redevelopment of the JW Marriott Ihilani into one of Hawaii's finest luxury resorts. The lead architectural firm is James K.M. Architects, winner of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Located on the sunny west side of Oahu, the resort is located just 17 miles from the Honolulu airport (and even further from the crowds and madness of Waikiki Beach). FS Oahu will become the fifth Four Seasons resort in Hawaii.

My clients all receive extra value through the Four Seasons Preferred Partner program which will apply to FS Oahu when it opens. Right now, you can get the following complimentary amenities when staying at FS Maui, FS Hualalai, FS Manele Bay, or FS Lodge at Koele.

  • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
  • Food and beverage credit of USD100
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites and villas)
  • Now standard at all properties: Complimentary Basic Internet (up to 2 devices) in all guest rooms, Complimentary Premium Internet (up to 4 devices) in all Suites.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

10.22.2014

sunrise breakfast over Rio

Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain

The iconic attraction of Rio di Janeiro, the 125 foot statue of Christ the Redeemer sits atop Corcovado Mountain. And here's an unique opportunity to beat the crowds and enjoy a sunrise breakfast over Rio.

An exclusive experience provided by Belmond Copacabana Palace, you'll be picked up at the hotel at 5 a.m., travel through the Tijuca Forest, and reach the top of the 2,296 foot high mountain before tourists are admitted. Once there, enjoy the sunrise experience while enjoying a mountaintop continental breakfast served by a waiter — home-baked breads, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and juices. Contact me for pricing and to make arrangements for this unique travel idea.

All Virtuoso guests of Copacabana Palace receive the following complimentary amenities for their stay:
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD Spa Services credit, to be utilized during stay  (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

10.21.2014

private air tour of Europe


If you've got $69,900 to spend on the most amazing European trip (price is per person - $7,750 single supplement), I've got the perfect two week vacation for you, a luxury tour by private jet. Dates are August 30 - September 13, 2015. Just 14 fortunate travelers will get to experience this itinerary.

30AUG-3NT — BERLIN

You'll stay at the Adlon Kempinski, right next to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin. You'll enjoy a city tour of Berlin on Monday and a day trip to Potsdam on Tuesday.

2SEP-2NT — DRESDEN and SALZBURG

Your private jet will fly to Dresden for a morning walking tour. After lunch, you'll fly on to Salzburg, Austria and the Goldener Hirsch, right in the heart of the Old City. On Thursday, tour Schloss Mirabell, see Mozart's birthplace, and other sites.

4SEP-3NT — DUBROVNIK and SICILY

Stopping off in Dubrovnik for a morning tour, your private jet will continue to Taormina Sicily where you'll spend three nights at the Belmond Grand Timeo. You'll have two full days to tour Sicily, including a 2nd century Greek Theater and Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna.

7SEP-3NT — AZORE ISLANDS

Stopping in San Miguel for a sight-seeing expedition, your plane will continue to Terceira with two days to explore this Azore Island. You'll stay at Pousada Angra do Herosimo de Sao Sebastiao.

10SEP-3NT — PARIS

Nonstop from the Azores to Paris, you'll enjoy your final three nights at the Four Seasons George V, proclaimed by many as the best hotel in the world. Your tour includes an escorted transfer back to the airport for your flight home.

Though expensive, the flexibility afforded by a private jet allows this kind of flexible itinerary. Any question, please give me a call, and I'll get the answers!

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

10.16.2014

guided tours vs. "do it yourself"

crowded Floating Market an hour outside of Bangkok

Guided tour or do-it-yourself? There's a lot to recommend each way of exploring a new destination. Frankly, I've been spoiled by my experience as a Virtuoso travel consultant. Having experienced guided tours on Educational Trips, it's hard for me to go back, especially in a place where traveling is difficult.

There is a huge advantage to hiring a private guide. You don't waste time figuring out logistics, buying tickets, and determining the best use of your precious vacation time. An expert local guide is working for you, to help you make the most of every day. We had an Abercrombie and Kent guide (Sue) and driver in Bangkok.

An experienced guide makes sure everything goes smoothly. One day we visited the Mae Klong Market whose claim to fame is that a railroad track runs right through it. Whenever the local train comes through, all of the merchants using the (free) stall space next to the tracks have to move their merchandise. Our next stop, the Amphawa Floating Market (pictured above) is crowded with both merchants and shoppers. We saw both, without a moment's worry about how to get there or what to do once we did.

And if things do go wrong, a great guide can fix them in a hurry. On our way back to Bangkok, the transmission on our car broke down… but not to worry. Sue got out of the car, flagged down a taxi, and got us to our next destination (lunch at The Siam) without our having to break a sweat. By the time we had finished lunch, a new car and driver were waiting to take us back to the Four Seasons.

There's much to be said about wandering, getting lost, and making new discoveries on your own. This is my preferred way to travel in lots of places, from Paris to New York to Venice. But if you want to just sit back, experience the destination, and travel in style, there's nothing better than a private guide.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

10.14.2014

Peninsula Hong Kong | truly elegant Kowloon hotel



First, a word about Hong Kong and the protests. I didn't see or hear the slightest indication of any disruption during my twenty-four hours in Hong Kong. I spent a day in Kowloon at the iconic Peninsula Hong Kong. Booked through a Virtuoso/PEN Club agency, you'll receive a complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two; a $100 hotel credit good towards food, beverage, and spa; upgrade if available; and flexible check-in/check-out times ("Pen Time").

A truly elegant hotel, a uniformed doorman will usher you into the Peninsula's grand lobby where you can enjoy Afternoon Tea or just enjoy a drink. I last visited the hotel in 2007. It has since undergone a total renovation of the guest rooms, and I loved the outcome! We stayed in a Deluxe Courtyard Room, and I would not hesitate to recommend this room to clients. Of course, you can book a Grand Deluxe Harbour View room and enjoy the view of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline beyond.

What to do in Kowloon? Plenty of high end shopping, local food (we had dinner at Jade Garden, right by the Ferry terminal), and the nightly light show over Victoria Harbour.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

10.05.2014

FS Tented Camp | it's a (ma)hout!

an elephant playing water games — (c) 2014 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

We're nearing the end of our trip to Thailand and Bhutan, and we have been able to squeeze in about 30 hours at Four Seasons Golden Triangle, otherwise known as FS Tented Camp. I think this picture says it all ... Yuki, one of Four Seasons' four Asian Elephants, is dousing my wife Claire with a surprise rain shower!

Four Seasons has created a unique elephant camp in the jungles of Northern Thailand, right on the border with Burma (Myanmar). In fact, the view from our tent is entirely of Burma. The highlight of your stay (for most guests), and the primary reason for a vacation here, will be the mahout training. If you love horseback riding, if you love getting up close and personal with animals, if you get an adrenaline rush from active adventure, FS Tented Camp should definitely go on your bucket list. (There are plenty of additional fascinating cultural tours for anyone not into elephants).

Four Seasons Golden Triangle is an all-inclusive resort, but book through a Four Seasons Preferred Partner (such as myself) in order to take advantage of an additional perk, a $100 spa credit. I'm looking forward to experiencing Four Seasons' spa in about 90 minutes, right after lunch!


P.S. — Our Thai Couples Massage was fabulous! Our therapists were Mimi and Yomi, and just as wonderful as the massage therapy was the setting ... an open-air massage studio in the jungle with the gentle sounds of birds and crickets.


copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. As affiliates of Brownell Travel, we can provide our clients with Virtuoso amenities and amenities from other Brownell preferred hotel partners including Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and more. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.