four seasons update | new hotels

I met virtually this morning with my new global Four Seasons sales rep and old Bay Area local Four Seasons guy Steve. He represents all of the properties and here is the latest on their NEW properties. We have a “Preferred Partner” relationship with Four Seasons for the best in personal service and exclusive amenities.

As with most of the world’s best hotels we have ‘an in’ so you’re one phone call away from being a VIP guest of Josh Friedman Luxury Travel. We also have contracted perks at most of them like complimentary breakfast, upgrades, and room credits.

seoul, korea

bogota, colombia  (2 new ones)

oahu, hawaii – a large resort on the beach past Pearl Harbor so not in the hubub of Waikiki. Adjacent to Disney’s Aulani but separate from kids, if you’d like it that way.

new york downtown – a new building a block from the new World Trade Center

london (england) at ten trinity square – in a 1920s building near the Tower of London

kyoto, japan – a spectacular new modern building which is great since the city needs another hotel in addition to the beautiful ritz carlton

surfside, florida– another striking modern building

miami beach at the surf club – near South Beach

abu dhabi at Al Maryah Island– looks very local!

 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
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four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

 

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

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Trip Report | Venice and Florence

It’s hard to believe I didn’t post this sooner but the end of the year came and went, and then the office got crazy busy. Anyway, I went to Italy and I never told you, my readers and clients, about the trip. Until now, and this is just Part One.   The main purpose of the trip was to check out hotels since I sell a lot of Italy and hadn’t been back in a year  (to Venice) or three (Florence). And I had never been to Chianti.

If you’d prefer a visual tour, click here. Otherwise, please read on.

Austrian Airlines

It’s not too often I would even mention flights these days, but for this trip I wanted to try something new.  Since I started from New York I took Austrian Airlines to Venice via Vienna.  Overall it was nice but no rave reviews. Everybody wears red (red jackets, red stockings,  etc.)  The seats were red. The food was actually pretty good, too. It wasn’t red. The flight attendants were the opposite of your typical American carrier — all very young and not jaded, but they could have used a bit more experience. The Vienna airport is small and easy to connect at.  I’d fly them again.Vienna Hotel Sacher

SWISS

I took SWISS [the old Swissair]  back from Florence to San Francisco via Zurich.  Cute little airplane up and over the Alps. Very polished.  We had a pretzel and a piece of chocolate.   The Zurich airport is very modern and has great upscale shopping including a snazzy chocolate shop, Hugo Boss, etc.  Nice place to change planes.  The flight back to SFO was up there with Air France as one of the best to/from Europe. Nice, new, clean planes. Friendly service. Food was OK.

Venice | Venezia

Arriving in Venice on a spectacular late Fall day is one of life’s great pleasures. The crowds were non-existent. The weather was warm. The streets in the late morning were quiet except for the footsteps of the signoras preparing their pranzo. Yes, I wanted to stay forever.

I took the Alilaguna water shuttle from the airport just one stop and then walked to my hotel – Ca Sagredo. Goes down on my list as one of the top hotels anywhere. Doesn’t have all the services, and no spa, but the rooms & suites are authentic Venetian, the corridors hundreds of years old, and the views of the canal from the top rooms are breathtaking.  6+ stars.  The other two hotels that I really enjoyed were the Danieli and the Londra Palace.  These are more traditional hotels with a bit more hustle and bustle, the Danieli more so than the smaller Londra.  The Danieli’s rooms are elaborate while the Londra’s more homey and unusual.  I was fortunate to have had lunch at the Danieli on their terrace overlooking the Lagoon.  The meal was one of the best I’ve ever had (pasta with anchovies for starters)  and the view was unreal.  Cocktails at the Londra Palace at their intimate bar was relaxing and dinner was fairly non-traditional Italian. I don’t think I had pasta!  It was 5 star continental cuisine which would rival about any restaurant anywhere, and the dining room is small, quiet & elegant. And right on the Lagoon. I imagine that on a warmer evening you can sit outside.

I also visited the Centurion, the Bauer, Bauer il Palazzo, Bonvecchiati and the Bonvecchiati Palace.  Unfortunately the Cipriani was already closed for the season.

Florence | Firenze

florence santa maria novellaThe train to Florence took just a couple of hours and I walked to my first hotel, JK Place, right on Piazza Santa Maria Novella, near the church with the same name. Actually the train station is named after it too — SMN.  The hotel is a find. Similar in size and function to Ca Sagredo, it’s small and personal and with an amazing design sense. Very sophisticated. And both have fabulous bathrooms. JK is like your home. You ring the doorbell, they let you in. Serve you a drink as you relax in the lobby. And the location is perfect. It’s actually hard to have a bad location in Florence but this area is nice. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to have a meal here.

But I did make it to the Four Seasons Florence where I again had one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Anywhere. Traditional Italian. Tuscan wine.  The hotel is a former convent [what else is new in Italy?] as well as palace.  I know Florence very well having lived there and this hotel will not be for everyone due to the location. It’s not for anybody who wants to walk out the door and have everything right there.  So you can’t run out the door, have a cappuccino, and then run back in to take a shower before sightseeing. Or it’s hard to come back to it between museums. But it’s not that badly located – just sort of.  The great thing about this hotel (besides my friend Maria G) is that you can relax, take a swim (in summer) or go to the nice gym. It’s really a resort in the City. So great for kids, of course.  The decor is a bit over the top 16th century, but I could live with that.

The best located great hotel in town, other than the very small JK Place discussed above, is the Savoy.  Besides another friend here (Francesca P)  this hotel is the embodiment of modern day Florence. A typical 19th century building, starkly modern inside, and chic as Rocco Forte is known for.  Suites are stunning  in Florentine simplicity with mosaic bathrooms of varying colors. Love this place, but if you have to have super quiet, the noise from the piazza might bother you, especially on busy summer weekends.

There are several more hotels worth mentioning, and for a review, just call or email me. They are the Florence St. Regis, the Florence Excelsior, Relais Santa Croce, Hotel Gallery Art, Villa San Michele (Orient Express hotel near Fiesole)

 

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing & the ultimate in service

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube

[sign up for exclusive offers!]

 

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with travel experts, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40

Miraval | a review prequel

Tomorrow at 6AM my partner John & I are catching a United flight to Phoenix and then driving to Miraval.  The Miraval Arizona Resort and Spa is one of the most exclusive spas in the country. Up until a year ago I never heard of it, despite the fact I claim to be one of the more knowledgable luxury focused travel advisors around. I just haven’t been big on spas. Hell, I live in San Francisco – if I want a massage with hot stones or an ayurvedic facial I don’t have to go very far. I just have to go to the Four Seasons Maui. It’s easier to get to than Tucson anyway, at least from San Francisco. But it’s just a 2 hour drive from Phoenix and I love Tucson. It’s really a beautiful and very distinctive place.

I’m sorry. Do I seem a little cynical? It’s my job! If my clients are going to spend their hard-earned, their spouse’s hard-earned or inherited money, they trust me to steer them in the right direction.  The fellow in the photo isn’t me, but it’s going to be me in about 24-48 hours. I’ve actually never had a stone massage, and it sounds pretty good. I did have an Ayurvedic facial at the Four Seasons Maui in December and it was awesome. It’s going to be hard to beat that place!  The part that makes me a little concerned is the fellow with the horse  and how the horse helps one learn to communicate, and the psychic astrologer.  I”m OK with yoga – I like that.

Image

Did you know that Oprah stayed at Miraval? I have a fair number of very sophisticated clients who live in or around Oklahoma City and they told me, and not at the same time.  Here’s the link to the video on oprah.com about it.    According to Oprah’s site,

” It’s a life-changing adventure at one of Oprah’s favorite places! Sixty warrior women , each bearing her own story, come together at the Miraval Resort to enjoy a week of soul searching and spa treatment in return for the hard times they’ve endured. Join Oprah and Gayle in meeting these mothers, daughters and wives as they begin the ultimate girls’ getaway.

And if I didn’t mention, their New Life in Balance Spa just opened which was the impetus for my invite! Enjoy the video and picture me there. I promise to blog from Miraval unless it’s so relaxing I just sleep.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing & the ultimate in service

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube
[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

Miraval Review Number 2

All Miraval Posts 

Four Seasons Hotels Around the World by Private Jet Tour

OK, here’s something newsworthy and interesting. It’s so newsworthy, it’s still just in press release form. Can you imagine traveling from LA, westbound to London via private jet with maybe just 50 other traveling companions?

Around the World by Private Jet

Ten Legendary Destinations, One Seamless Four Seasons Experience.

We are thrilled to announce an exciting new venture in 2012. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has partnered with private jet tour operator TCS & Starquest Expeditions to create an exclusive travel experience, Around the World by Private Jet.

In a 22-day journey, your clients will fly on a VIP-configured private jet with a small group of like-minded travelers – exploring ten legendary destinations and enjoying one seamless Four Seasons experience.

The destinations include:

  • Los Angeles (Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles)
  • Kona, Hawaii (Four Seasons Resort Hualalai)
  • Bora Bora, French Polynesia (Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora)
  • Sydney & Ayers Rock, Australia (Four Seasons Hotel Sydney)
  • Bali, Indonesia (choice of Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay or at Sayan)
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand (Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, or upgrade to Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle)
  • The Taj Mahal & Mumbai, India (Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai)
  • The Pyramids & The Sphinx, Egypt (Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza)
  • London (Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane)

It’s the trip of a lifetime, including: deluxe Four Seasons accommodations; all excursions; lectures by world-class experts on art, culture and more; all meals, both on and off property; and a dedicated staff on the jet and during excursions. Your clients will enjoy completely personalised Four Seasons care at every moment of the journey.

The trip takes place from October 29 to November 19, 2012, with a cost per person of $66,950, based on double occupancy.

Call Josh, your Four Seasons Preferred Partner agency guy, for all the details and to book.

josh friedman luxury travel at casto
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency