In the balmy Spring of 2017 I flew to Paris for a couple of days, and then joined some happy returning EuroDisney travelers (not planned) for the Paris/Dublin flight, where I learned about apparently famous Irish potato chips. I joined up with John in Dublin where he had been on business and we set off for the southwest of Ireland, starting on St Paddys’ Day. Kilkenny, Cork, Kinsale & Cobh were a fantastic 3 day trip!
Only ten places? That will be hard but 10 seems to be a popular number so I’ll try to whittle the list down. Here then are 10 places I would go to, because they’re fabulous, hot, fun, historic, fascinating, spectacularly beautiful, offer awesome food and wine, have a top hotel or resort to crash out and where we can work with a great local partner to bring you unique sightseeing and learning opportunities.
India | I just went for my first time in May but I want to go back. Perfect if you’ve never traveled anywhere, and outrageous if you’ve been almost everywhere like me. The people, architecture, daily life, food, spirituality, yoga, cows, monkeys – all an incredible feast to your senses.
Normandy | June 2014 will mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. You can experience this area by land (we offer excellent traditional châteaux to stay in and superb guides and we’ll pick you up in Paris). Or you can take a 7 day river cruise round-trip from Paris. Combine with Brittany and the Loire.
Amalfi Coast | The ultimate honeymoon getaway are these villages on the cliffs above the Mediterranean not too far from the Naples airport such as Ravello, Positano & Sorrento. Enjoy probably Italy’s freshest produce grown in the sun drenched area, awesome pasta and limoncello. The hotels are studies in spectacular tile work reflecting the sparkling sea below. Capri is right there too. Fly home from the north and visit Umbria and Tuscany.
Bora Bora & Le Teha’a | Maybe this is the ultimate honeymoon getaway instead. The reports from my clients who have been are always off the charts. On either of these islands lose yourself into your hut sitting on top of their respective lagoons. I’ve not yet been and it’s at the top of my list. While “Bora” is more famous and has two ultra-luxury resorts, Le Teha’a is bit more authentic and more secluded.
Bali | I’ve been wanting to go back here since I went there in 1994 when I worked for Seabourn. The culture is fascinating, the hotels and resorts sybaritic. It’s just so different from Western life, and much calmer than India. Be prepared to slow down a lot. Bali makes Mexico seem fast paced.
Seabourn Cruise Line | Just take me anywhere on the Sojourn, Odyssey or Quest. Seabourn continues to be one of the top cruise lines, if not the best, for world travelers who demand the best service and best food & drink — at sea or on land. Next time I think I wouldn’t mind a trip to the fjords of Norway. I love visiting the Land of the Midnight Sun in the summer where it’s easy to stay up almost 24/7.
Silversea Cruises | You can take me anywhere with Silversea too. With Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea completes the trilogy of ultra-luxury cruising with smaller ships. And that’s easier now that they’ve expanded their fleet to include adventure sailings in the Galapagos with Silver Galapagos, throughout the polar regions with Silver Explorer and the Pacific with Silver Discoverer launching in March 2014. And their first ship, Silver Cloud, was recently refurbished.
Sea Dream Yacht Club | I’m dying to take a cruise on Sea Dream. It’s all about the water and I love being in and around a lot of it since I’m from Miami Beach and Los Angeles. The ships have only 100 guests and everything revolves around being outside – on the deck or in the water. I’d be perfectly content to spend 1 or 2 weeks in the Caribbean this winter with SeaDream. They even offer Glatt-Kosher cuisine for private charters which by the way is a GREAT way to celebrate – say a 60th birthday? Kosher is optional.
Japan | This is not a popular destination for my clients but it’s always seemed so interesting to me. I think it’s the history, the style and the hospitality that intrigues me around Tokyo and Kyoto. I’ve met many Japanese at my annual luxury travel conference and I’m sure if they’re anything like the folks back home it would be a great trip. The hotels (including Hoshinoya in Kyoto), lodges and ryokans appear to be unique and worthy of a visit. Stay 7-10 days and combine with the beaches in Thailand or Vietnam for a fun vacation!
Ireland | I got a taste of Dublin a year ago when I accompanied my partner John there on a business trip. Not sure I’d recommend that you go in February (no lines though at Trinity College for the Book of Kells), but a good 7 to 10 day trip any other time would be pretty wonderful. The Irish are super friendly, like to have a good time and the countryside is absolutely beautiful I’m told – and have seen virtually. Staying at a castle and touring the Ring of Kerry sounds very fun. And I can vouch for the excellent whisky selections and Guinness in Dublin.
All the best for a wonderful 2014!
Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso
josh friedman luxury travel in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
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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.
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Who in their right mind would go to Ireland in February? Unless of course you’re Irish or have to go there on a business trip. Well John had to go on a business trip so I tagged along. By the way, if you look on a globe, you’ll see that Dublin is as far north as both Sitka, Alaska or Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
But for 4 days, I’ll try anything.
The coolest thing I saw, and I will say that everything I saw was INSIDE, was the library at Trinity College. Trinity itself is a millennium old college in the middle of the City. It’s alright from the outside, but nothing like Oxford. But the library is magical. Straight out of Harry Potter, there are very old volumes packed floor to ceiling on two levels. You have climb wonderful ladders to reach the upper books and there’s even a (sort of) secret passage from room to room on the upper floor since there wasn’t enough room to build a path. No personal picture allowed ,but click here.
The very famous Book of Kells has an amazing story behind it – how it was written by several hands in the cold & damp abbey and then thrown to languish in a creek until found later. What I liked best about my entire visit to Dublin was the history of the region, including all the tribal issues going back 1,000 years. We visited the National Gallery of Ireland on Clare Street and learned about Irish history just by reading the descriptions of the paintings. The anger of the Irish against oppressors goes WAY back.
I’d also go to the Little Museum of Dublin which is right on St Stephen’s Green and is a new and passionately inspired history of the development of Dublin over the last couple of centuries. This is all part of showing you the tremendous pride the Irish have in their history.
And of course, Guinness Storehouse, the home of the famous beer. While there was no line to get into the Book of Kells, there was a (short) line to get in here, and at 1.5 x the cost of Trinity College as well! I went to the Olympia brewery in Tacoma, Washington when I was 19 and this wasn’t any more interesting but it sure was slicker. They must have hired Disneyland’s designers to do up this place. Must admit that the restaurant there was very good (and very authentic – which means ‘interesting’ to an American) and the tasting room on the top floor with a 360 degree view of Dublin was the highlight. It was just a scene with everybody trying to get their glass of Guinness (included in the E.16.50 admission). But once served, it was enjoyable to hang out in this modern and comfortable place and enjoy the view. And did you know that the women who pour the beer create a shamrock in the foamof every glass – all done straight from the tap. Amazing. I got a great shot of that.
Hotels and Restaurants
I should at least mention a hotel, don’t you think? The Merrion. Even saw Danny DeVito there. Right downtown, nearby everything, the owners took several Georgian townhomes, joined them together and created a classic, low-key, perfectly wonderful and very local lodging. The peat burning in 3 (I think) fireplaces, 365 days a year only adds to the charm. The rooms and suites will make you feel very special. I strongly suggest the Jr Suites on the First Floor with the fabulously high ceilings. And of course you have to book with Josh Friedman Luxury Travel so you can get a few complimentary perks and a VIP introduction.
In other hotel notes, the nearby Shelbourne (an old hotel right on the Green) has a hopping bar scene and for the American business traveler who prefers modern the Conrad is a good choice, all in the same general area.
For restaurants, my top two picks are the Townhouse Bar & Grill for a high quality, very inspiring setting beneath street level (I had Brick Chicken) and Farm, a very casual and not expensive eatery with awesome Tiramisu.
Josh Friedmanis 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.