Heading off to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe
I will update my blog everyday I can get Internet. Http://catherinewhitworth.wordpress.com
Highlights of the Starwood Luxury Showcase- Al Maha
Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa in the desert outside of Dubai. A member of Starwood Luxury Collection, this resort is quite intriguing. Offering over the top desert tented experience, the Al Maha is in a category by itself. Activities include camel trekking, falconry, dune driving, archery, and wildlife exploration excursions.
In Chicago for the Fabulous Starwood Luxury Showcase
My goodness, I had always heard that Chicago was cold, but standing out waiting for the car made me a believer. This city is FRIGID!
I am thrilled to be here to meet folks from Starwood hotels all over the world.
Starwood hotels are Westins, W’s, Sheratons, Luxury Collection, and the ever incredible St Regis properties.
I am here to learn about the new resorts, and meet personnel from these hotels.
It is those personal connections that make my clients have an extra special experience.
I am always so surprised when I write a note to a hotel about a client’s arrival. Inevadibly, I get a response immediately from the General Manager or someone in management within the hotel. They really make an effort and it shows. Looking forward to seeing what properties are here!
View from my table at the Westin Palace Madrid
This is the result! Cocktail Party for PURE at the Sofitel Imperial Palace- Marrakech
PURE Conference in Marrakech, Morocco
One of the most coveted conferences to attend is the PURE conference in Marrakech. The conference committee scours the world for the best of the best and it shows. All of the suppliers are top notch. Perfect for learning about new destinations, hotels, camps, destination management companies, and most importantly new experiences. PURE is about experiential travel. I am privileged to be going and I hope to share my experience with my clients and friends. They are the ones that will benefit as much as I will.
Screening room, Siam Bangkok
Note the “film” border on the floor and the collage of old theatre tickets on the sides of the screen.
Recipe from the Thai restaurant Ritz Phulay Bay – Krabi Thailand
The best Thai Soup -Chicken in Coconut milk, I have ever tasted.
Ritz Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay- Krabi Thailand
A little slice of heaven, I think this is one of the most beautiful hotels and settings I have ever experienced. It was filmed in the movie Hangover 2 as the destination for the “wedding”. Service is far beyond anything I have encountered, and Asian service is legendary!
Our butler is Kun Annie( Kun is a reference of respect), and I would REALLY like to take her home. She sees after our every wish, from laundry to boat tours of the islands, arranging transfers to our next destination, trips into the village, and as insignificant as how to to how to operate the TV. She appears at our poolside sala with pen in hand to take notes for our latest wishes. Oh my gosh.
The resort has three restaurants, a Thai, an International, and a Seafood restaurant.
We dined in the Thai restaurant last night, and the Chicken soup in Coconut milk was the best I have ever tasted. Tonight will be the Seafood restaurant.
One other observation: the music at the pool is outstanding sort of Buddha Bar- Cafe Costes compilations. Recipes are coming from Phulay Bay’s French chef and I will post them soon.
Burmese Monasteries and Monks
Monasteries and Monks have a tremendous influence in the predominately Buddhist country of Burma. We were privileged to visit the Mahagandahyon Monastery in Mandalay- one of the most important and holy monasteries in Burma. It houses 1000 monks from age 12- 90.
Every Burmese man must become a monk for at least one week; there are 500,000 monks in Burma. Highly revered, they take their vows seriously and spend most of their time studying and living Buddhism. Buddhist Monks only eat twice a day at around 8AM and again at 11AM and that is the last meal of the day for them.
Hidden Pagoda Complex found 10 years ago on Inle Lake Myanmar
When we were in Burma 10 years ago, we were taken to a newly opened ancient pagoda and temple complex called Shwe Inn Dein. We went by boat and we had to jump dikes to get there. It was uphill and In a remote part of Inle lake.
The complex was completely empty, overgrown with jungle and absolutely spectacular.
The tin covered walkway, about a half mile long, led to a central temple and there were 1059 pagodas around it. Nothing was “restored” and it was beautiful. The picture of the Buddha heads was taken 10 years ago and sadly, they were gone. We were delighted that we found it again. Now a small village has grown up around it and we hardly recognized the entrance.
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok- like coming home
It’s the little things: being welcomed with jasmine bracelets
Orchids all over the room
The elevator attendant that punches your floor without being told.
Being called by name by everyone.
Ice, our maitre’d at breakfast, who always has a plate of mangosteens and fresh sliced mangos at my place.
Eating breakfast on the river- watching the ever vibrant boat traffic.
600 count sheets
Local fruit placed in our room everyday.
The hall butler who runs to unlock our door before I can fumble for my key
The white chocolate elephant with candies and personally signed welcome notes.
The pool beverages constantly being refilled without being asked
Smiles on every employee
The night note on our pillow with an orchid
Bright lights in the bathroom
Unlimited refreshing bath salts
New Sky Club – ATL International Terminal
Big, bright and it has showers! There is also a Varsity right outside the door- yay!
My visit to Vicente’s
One of my favorite summer trips is a visit to one of my oldest friends, and longest running clients, Vicente Wolf. His house in Montauk looks like it is right out of a magazine, and it is! It has been been published many times.
Vicente is one of the top designers in the world. A genius with spatial design, he holds licences in accessory , fabric , lamp , flatwear, crystal , and furniture design. ! He is also a well established photographer, and has published three books incorporating travel with design.
He travels during the year on an extensive round the world exploration, photographing the destinations he is visiting. He is also busy buying for his shop, VW Home and for personal clients.
Many of these destinations are highlighted in his books: Learning to See, Crossing Boundaries, and Lifting the Curtain on Design. He is endlessly fascinated with tribal cultures, local handicrafts, tribal art and extreme exotic locations.
The harder to reach, the better. It is about learning and experiencing new cultures, pushing the envelope and at the same time escape, says Vicente
Recipes from the Road: Singita Grumeti Sasakwa
Probably the finest resort in East Africa, Singita Sasakwa is unrivaled in elegance.
Patterned after an English Manor House, Sasakwa sits over the Grumeti Plain offering magnificent views of game below.
Recipes from the Road- picture courtesy of One and Only Capetown
9 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup sugar syrup
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pulp and pod of 1 vanilla bean
6 medjool dates, julienned, plus 3 chopped
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup water
Cook the pears with the sugar syrup, lemon juice and vanilla pulp and pod over medium heat for 10 minutes or until tender.
To prepare the dates: cook the julienned dates in orange juice until just warm. Remove the dates and reserve the juice. Dice 2 tablespoons of the dates for garnish.
To make the date puree, place 3 chopped dates in a blender with the water and the reserved orange juice. Puree for three minutes or until smooth.
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cream
½ ripe pear, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons brandy
Dissolve the sugar in the cream over medium heat. Add the pear and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the pear is softened. Puree the mixture and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the brandy. Re-blend just before serving.
Crisp cinnamon, ginger wafers
1 cup caster sugar
4½ oz golden syrup
1 stick plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
4½ oz plain flour
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Combine sugar, golden syrup, butter, orange juice and zest in a sauce pan over low heat until the butter has melted. Stir thoroughly, and then remove from the heat. Sift the flour and spices into a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the golden syrup mixture and stir until well combined and smooth. Drop small teaspoons of the batter onto the prepared baking trays, leaving 2 inches between each one to allow for spreading. Bake for 8 minutes, until an even golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Recipes from the road: Spice Village -Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Southern India
From time to time I come across a particularly special food item and I ask for the recipe. We were in Southern India at Spice Village Resort. We were amazed at the quality of the food there, of course all organically grown,fresh from the garden, and totally wholesome. The menus were inventive and presentation was beautiful. This is a small out of the way resort, so we had not expected great dining and we were pleasantly surprised!! We were up for an early morning hike and these cookies were piled on a large platter for fortification. Divine! Thanks to chef PJ Aneesh
WHOLE MEAL CHOCOLATE & COFFEE COOKIES
BUTTER 175 GRAMS
BROWN SUGAR 200 GRAMS
EGG (OPTIONAL) 1 NUMBER
PLAIN FLOUR 70 GRAMS
BAKING SODA 1 TEASPOON
WHOLEMEAL FLOUR 70 GRAMS
BRAN 1 TEASPOON
CHOCO CHIP 200 GRAMS
ROLLED OATS 85 GRAMS
COFFEE POWDER 1 TEASPOON
MULTIGRAIN MIXES 100 GRAM
CREAM THE BUTTER & SUGAR .FOLD IN THE EGG TO IT.
MIX TOGETHER REMAINING ALL INGREDIENTS AND GENTLY MIX IT WITH THE BUTTER-SUGAR CREAM TO MAKE SMOOTH DOUGH.
TAKE AROUND 10 GRAMS OF MIX & PRESS IT BETWEEN THE PALMS TO GET A MEDALLION SHAPE.
PLACE IT ON A GREASED TRAY. REPEAT FOR THE ENTIRE DOUGH.
BAKE IT ON 160 C FOR 20-22 MINUTES.
REMOVE FROM OVEN & COOL IT ON WIRE RACK.
The Dollar is at a new high! Perfect time to travel!
The Euro is trading at 1.27- lowest in two years. Now is the perfect time to plan that trip to Ireland, France, Italy, Turkey, Prague, Germany or anywhere the Euro is traded. Now the luxury hotel you have been dying to see is in reach! Restaurants are affordable again! Cultural offerings are possible! I would love to help plan your dream trip. It’s a great value opportunity!
Amanresorts to open another spectacular property this summer- Amanzoe!
Amanresorts, the ultra luxurious collection of beyond fabulous hotel resort properties will open another resort this summer- Amanzo’e.
This from Anamresorts:
Comprising a 38-suite resort and an Aman Spa, Amanzoe is Amanresorts’ third Mediterranean retreat – the Greek complement to Montenegro’s Aman Sveti Stefan and Turkey’s Amanruya. Drawing its name from the Sanskrit-derived word for ‘peace’ and zoe (pronounced zoi), the Greek word for ‘life’, Amanzoe is situated on a hilltop close to the quaint town of Porto Heli on the east coast of the Peloponnese. The resort offers almost 360º panoramic sea views as well as a private Beach Club in a picturesque bay.
If it is anything like the other carefully thought out resorts, it will be a smashing success! Can’t wait to see!
Delta to cut back on Transatlantic Flights
Hammered by the weak euro and the risk of spikes in fuel prices,Delta Air Lines is cutting back on trans-Atlantic flights and shifting its focus southward.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that, just after opening the Atlanta airport’s new international terminal with additional gates, the airline is cutting five percent of its trans-Atlantic capacity. Delta will also cut one to two percent of Pacific flight capacity, for capacity cuts totaling three to four percent, deeper than the two to three percent cuts the company had previously planned.
The new flights, which will begin in late 2012 and early 2013, are in addition to Delta’s previously announced expansion at New York-LaGuardia, where the airline is adding more than 100 new flights to 26 new destinations this summer.
When its full schedule is implemented, Delta will operate more than 260 daily flights between LaGuardia and more than 60 cities, exceeding any other carrier.
Delta reports it is also optimizing its schedule at JFK to facilitate convenient connections to international flights. JFK is a major global gateway for Delta, which operates nonstop flights to more than 45 international destinations from the airport.
Wellesley Knightsbridge opening in London 2012
I am delighted to hear that Stefano Lodi and his team are opening a fabulous new hotel in London – December 2012.
Located on one of London’s most prestigious addresses in Knightsbridge is the site for a new 36 suite luxury hotel scheduled to open on 1st December 2012, which will parallel the very best of hotels in the world.
The Wellesley, is located at 11 Knightsbridge, managed by City and Country Hotels and is being developed by Rhimesong at a cost of £36 million, the property was formerly commercial offices.
The hotel will take on both a contemporary and classic style with interiors created by award-winning design experts Fox Linton, combining the building’s 1920s art deco history and glamour with stylish contemporary touches. In addition to its 36 suites, the hotel will incorporate a Cigar Lounge and Terrace, The Crystal Bar, The Oval Restaurant, and the Jazz Room.
Can’t wait to see!
WEBSITE IN PROGRESS!
Young Monk in Myanmar
I am fondly looking forward to my return to SE Asia.
I have started to plan my semiannual return to Bangkok, another visit to magical Myanmar, and site inspections in Krabi and Phuket Thailand. Myanmar is a really hot travel destination and I want to do a run on the fabulous Road to Mandalay- the Orient Express cruise on the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar. I also want to check the iconic Strand Hotel and Governor’s Residence in Yangon. I am so happy to see Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake again. The people of Myanmar are so dear, and so happy to have guests again visiting their country. I am including some pictures from my last visit. Visas are necessary for Myanmar so I have sent off my visa application. One has to apply 3 months out. Weather will be hot and humid- yay!
Repost of our tiger tracking adventure
We are now in Ranthambore Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!
To be continued….
Repost of our Tiger Tracking experience- last day, last game drive
For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughen, Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas. Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books. As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father looked at us and said “the tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement. True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer! THEN we followed the tiger (who missed the deer) 2 more times and that video is also amazing.
Welcome To Atlanta’s New International Terminal
On May 16th, the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal will open at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). This state-of-the-art, LEED-certified terminal will accommodate more passengers and make international travel a breeze.
Most international flights will arrive at Concourses E or F, although some international flights from “pre-cleared” countries will arrive on Concourses T through D.
If Atlanta is your final destination:
You will proceed through Passport Control and claim your baggage at the new international terminal.
You will no longer need to recheck your baggage upon exiting Customs.
There is a passenger pickup area and ground transportation center at the new international terminal.
From the international terminal, complimentary shuttles are available to both the domestic terminal which includes MARTA, as well as to the rental car center.
Since you are departing Atlanta prior to the new terminal’s opening and returning after its opening, please note the following:
If you parked at the domestic terminal and your flight arrives at the international terminal, you may take the complimentary shuttle bus to the domestic terminal.
If someone is picking you up at the airport, please let him or her know you will arrive at the new international terminal, which is accessible from Interstate 75.
Please visit delta.com for more information about the international terminal.
A&K 100 Club meeting -Chicago
I am in Chicago to attend the A& K semi annual meeting. We meet all the A&K representatives from around the world and get the latest information about Abercrombie and Kent and their tours around the world. It’s always an exciting meeting and so much fun to see alL of the people we work with during the year. The meeting also has luxury vendors from around the world such as Liz biden from Royal Malewane.We get all the latest information, and offerings from everyone so we can better serve our clients
Harvest time at Vina Vik
Top Hotels in Southern Chile