Fantastic Tokyo

Photographer Moyan Brenn shares colorful nocturnal shots of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, while also reflecting on his first visit to the city a few years ago.

via Tokyo by Night — Discover

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Ponant Cruise 2016 Sailings

If you remember my post from last year, you’ll recall how interesting I found this small French “boutique” ship.  It’s catching on here in the USA and many sailings are sold out. This is what is still available for 2016.

Be sure to read my old blog post to learn more about these chics ships.

Alaska
Cruise Fjords of Alaska July 2 – 9th Vancouver Juneau $4,760 Le Soleal

Cruise Between Ice & Fire  Aug 11 – 22nd Nome Seward $6390 Le Soleal Expedition / Special Offer

Japan
Japan’s Traditions  Oct 5- 14th Kanazawa – Osaka $5530  L’Austral

Vietnam
Cruise Vietnamese Coastlines Oct 14-26th Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh Special Offer $4030 L’Austral

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

 

Top Producer with Expert Knowledge on all Luxury Lines:
– Silversea
– Seabourn’s Pinnacle Club
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– SeaDream Yacht Club
– Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions
– AmaWaterways
– Viking Cruises & Viking River Cruises

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn
and my more recent review of Seabourn Sojourn in the Baltic
Read my review of Seabourn Spirit
Read my review of Silver Cloud
Read all my ship reviews with photos

 

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

 

 

Luxury Travel | 10 Places I Would Go in 2014

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.

jaipur elephant
jaipur, india

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.

seabourn-spirit-caribbean-cruise
Seabourn Spirit docked in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Fredericksted, February 2012

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!

Dublin at Trinity College
Dublin at Trinity College

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
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

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.

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

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshfriedmantravel/9463395182/ 

Kyoto | When to Visit & Hoshinoya Hotel

One of our preferred suppliers, and Yuki is one of our favorite people, too! Please call me for more information and to book.

HOSHINOYA Kyoto was listed as one of eight “All-Stars” Hot Hotels in the 2012 Hot List by Conde Nast Traveler. We are very honored!

Click here and go to Slide #7 to see a pic. Per my friend Yuki at the hotel, the autumn foliage in the photo is seen between mid Nov. and mid Dec. in Kyoto. Colored maple leaves perfectly match with Japanese traditional architecture such as this or temples.

More from Yuki:

Over one year has passed since last year’s triple disasters in Japan.

I myself took my American family (my husband, son, and parents-in-law) to Japan early April and luckily saw the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Ah.. it was beautiful. My aging parents-in-law were really happy that their dream came true.. (tears..)

As long as I saw, the life was back to normal and people were again in a festive mood to admire the beautiful flowers.

Tourism is also getting back very quickly. Many international travelers are coming back to beautiful Japan.

Traveling tip #1: From mid May to August, Kyoto is quite quiet.
You may have rain but rain in early summer in Kyoto also enhances the famous “moss” in Japanese gardens. You can also take longer time to admire those sceneries without too many tourists. (Caution: August may be a bit hot and humid.)

Here are what we are doing in summer at HOSHINOYA Kyoto: Relaxing on the “Floating Tea Room” with shaved ice or having a quiet time watching fireflies fly by on the river at our new “Hotaru Bar”

Come and stay or let your clients come and experience one of the hottest hotels in the world!! We look forward to working with you soon. Thank you!

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

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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

The Night at the “Kyogen” in Kyoto

This very interesting update is from a woman I know who represents a modern ryokan in Kyoto, Japan.    Sounds like a fascinating event:
 
Today, I would like to introduce something very unusual. It is a once-in-a-life-time experience of Japan.  I am sure this is something no other hotels in Japan but only HOSHINOYA could and would offer.
 
The Night at the “Kyogen”

HOSHINOYA Kyoto invites you to see and play(!) for yourself a Japanese historical performing art, Kyogen, in the property, at its Hidden Garden.
 
Kyogen is a spoken comedy drama that was developed in the 14th century in Japan.  It depicts everyday life of common people in the feudal society such as a fight between a couple or a chain of failures caused by a stupid mistake.  In the laughter, though, Kyogen also sharply portraits the true human nature which is universal in time and places.  Kyogen is now listed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
 
It is a very rare opportunity even for Japanese to see and participate in, at such a small venue, the 600-year-old show performed by the Shigeyama Family which have practiced the inherited art for over 400 years. You may not need any explanation to laugh because the stories and performance are easy to follow. However, for you to enjoy and appreciate it thoroughly, we will provide English pamphlets and language supporting staff. 
 
The show will be on only 2 nights in April and for guests only.
 
Dates:  April 28 and 29, 2012
Time:   4:30 PM ~
Place:   Hidden Garden at HOSHINOYA Kyoto
Rates:   Special rates are shown in the website  https://room-reservation.jp/kyoto_e/search/search_period_result.asp
 

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

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

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Only in Japan | Miraculous Reconstruction

Dear Reader,

This email is from Yuki, a cool woman who represents this cool hotel in Japan.

The top photo was taken on March 11, 2011, right after the M9.0 earthquake.
This is near an exit ramp of Joban Expressway, the artery highway between Tokyo and Sendai, Miyagi, where the tsunami hit hard.

The next photo is the same spot on March 17, 2011.

Realizing this road was the key to the rescue and aid to the affected area, they FIXED IT IN 6 DAYS!!!
According to Sankei News, local contractors donated gravels and people in the neighborhood offered their yard for working space to hasten the reconstruction.
Amazing, isn’t it?!

Yuki Olsen
Hoshino Resort
www.hoshinoya.com/en
http://kyoto.hoshinoya.com/en

josh friedman luxury travel at casto
in san francisco’s financial district
415.248.5079 | joshfriedmantravel.com
a virtuoso member agency