Edinburgh & London Report

I visited Edinburgh and London this past November and here is my report, in photos. The hotels stayed in were The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel, a grande dame set above the railway station in Edinburgh.  And in London, another Rocco Forte hotel, Brown’s Hotel, a classic central Mayfair establishment which has been around longer than any of us.

I flew over in Delta’s quite nice Business Class, Delta One, and back in Upper Class with  Virgin Atlantic.

 

 

Edinburgh and London
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Seabourn Sojourn | San Francisco Visit

Seabourn Sojourn was in San Francisco and she is as spectacular as ever.  Catch up on my earlier reviews.

Seabourn Sojourn review | July 2013

Seabourn Sojourn

Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Enjoy this pictures from my visit on board Regent Seven Seas Navigator while she was visiting San Francisco.  My clients like on of the line’s original ships, not  to mention our brand new cruise terminal.

Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage | Palm Springs

Fiji Airways Business Class

I just returned from a Business Class trip from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia (SFO -SYD) via Nadi.   Even though this was a trip to Australia, I did go to Fiji last year to check out many of their top resorts. Those posts are here.  Here are my thoughts on Fiji Airways.

DESIGN/ To me this is always important and the plane is true to it’s country, both outside and inside.  From the simple brown and white logo to the colorful dresses the flight attendants wear, to the pillows and comforters supplied, it’s excellent.

FRIENDLINESS/ Pretty much at the top of the list for what you want, the crew was super friendly, especially southbound. Big smiles, always wanting to help. I’d almost say they never say no, but the crew on the return was a bit strict, almost like they had just read the manual and didn’t want to deviate from it.  For instance about 4 hours outside of SFO when almost everybody was sleeping they made announcements for the duty free  – and that could have waited.

SEAT COMFORT / The seats are almost lie flat – I’d say 95% so it was easy to get some rest.  I’m an average size person and the width seemed a bit snug to me.  The buttons worked pretty good (except on the SFO/NAN leg) so the seat moved where you wanted it to.  They supplied both a duvet and a blanket, so I put the moderately comfy duvet under me with the blanket on top – and it worked.  Storage wasn’t great so you needed to keep most of your stuff in the overheads.

FOOD / This was surprisingly good, including the Laucala welcome drink. Not sure it was named after the famous Red Bull owned ultra-luxury resort I went to last year, but it was excellent nonetheless and a very authentic Fijian welcome.  Sorry I didn’t save the menu, but they offered a couple of choices and I ate it all. Mimosas for breakfast were fun, too.

BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGES SFO and Nadi / are both available at no extra charge. In San Francisco we were able to use the fantastic and very chic Virgin Atlantic lounge with all their fabulous drinks and meal service. Service was super friendly, too. In Nadi, Fiji Airways is redoing their lounge, and the temporary one is, while not great, at least pleasant enough with complimentary beer, wine and snacks. And in Sydney we did not have time to enjoy any services, which I think may be at the Qantas lounge, but I’m not sure.

ON TIME & MISC / All 4 flights were on-time, baggage made it, online check-in worked and all was good.

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
Sign up for our interesting but infrequent emails

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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.

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

 

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

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Seabourn Ovation | A Preview Video

Seabourn Ovation:  What’s coming is more of a good thing.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Virtuoso Voyages.

 

Top Producer with Expert Knowledge on all Luxury Lines:
– Silversea
– Seabourn Cruise Line
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– SeaDream Yacht Club
– AmaWaterways
 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

four seasons preferred partner,
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.

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

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

 

Gay Luxury Cruise | Greek Islands

Updated 21 August 2017

Originally posted Spring 2017 | I finally received almost all of what I needed from Silversea to get this big ol gay vacation going in Sept 2018.   Should be a lot of fun.  If you’re in San Francisco, Ray has promised to lead weekly exercise classes between now and next September so we’ll all look great in our new swimsuits.  If you’re not local, we’ll see about chapters in your town.  See below for inspiration (yes, i took this):

Seabourn-Sojourn_0057

Here’s what we have going:

Dates| 16 – 23 September, 2018

Itinerary | Click here for details.  It begins and ends in Athens (Piraeus) and visits the Greek Islands of Hydra, Mykonos, Kos, Santorini, and Volos. It also visits the famous ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus, via it’s port of Kusadasi, Turkey.  A preliminary list of shore excursions is here.

Cruise Line | Silversea

josh’s notes / one of the top 4 cruise lines. all small ships. all inclusive of wine, spirits (en-suite too),  espresso drinks, etc, gratuities, wifi (1 hr/day),  shuttles in most ports, butler service, 24 hour in-room dining

Demographics | For the most part Silversea attracts a very well heeled guest. Mostly American, but you’ll find Aussies, Brits, a few South Americans and scattered others.  You’ll usually see a couple to a few gay couples but we plan to upend that! The LGBT mix is American/non-American as well, and usually men.

Ship | Silver Whisper

  josh’s notes / 382 guests, 302 crew, built 2001, refurbished december 2016, 28k gross registered tons (that’s not big), 7 passenger decks, registry Bahamas, officers are mostly Italian and crew is from all over.

Pricing | The ship has generally 4 types of suites and they’re all referenced here.  1) without a veranda, 2) with a shared veranda (a little unusual), 3) with a private veranda and 4) big suites. 1-3 are all the same size at 287 Sq Ft plus veranda if applicable with another 58 Sq Ft. A deck plan with suite configurations is here.

Prices are per person, based on 2 to a suite, and include all taxes. Very easy.  There should also be a discount for those who have sailed with Silversea before. Currently (Aug 2017) AIR IS FREE and Business Class is only $1,198 round-trip, from many cities in the USA.

By booking with our group you receive a $150 per person ship board credit which can be used toward any shore excursion, spa treatment or boutique purchase.  We’ll also have a private cocktail party or two during the cruise to liven things up.   I’m planning on our exclusive amenities as well! Ideas welcome.

Book and pay by 8/30/2017 and receive a 10% discount. Should Silversea have any other promotions later on you would be eligible to add that to your booking, but the booking would have to be repriced at that time.

Single?   Silversea has a  good promotion now for a 25% supplement for your own suite.  Normally you’d pay double.  My guess is that this will not last. (I was right, it’s already gone up to 50%)

Trip insurance is optional and advisable. Ask for details.

Before & After | There are a million places to visit before and after but I’m thinking maybe some of us would want to spend time in famous gay Mykonos before. The ship does go there, but one day just isn’t enough. Let me know what you think.  I’ve been to Athens several times back in the day, and it’s worth a couple of days at least + there are many sites nearby you can do on day trips.   I’ve been friends with the sales manager of the 2 Starwood Luxury Collection hotels in Athens for 30 years and she’ll take great care of us.

More Infomation & To Book |  Just call or email with your questions and I’ll set you up.

Friends | By all means, invite everybody you know.  This group is starting in San Francisco but expect it to go nationwide and global.

Josh

legal disclaimer / i apologize if any of the above facts are alternative. it was not my intent and like somebody else we know, i’m not responsible.

 

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service

Top Producer with Expert Knowledge on all Luxury Lines:
– Silversea
– Seabourn Cruise Line
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– SeaDream Yacht Club
– AmaWaterways

 josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor
four seasons preferred partner,

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.

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

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

 

 

 

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

Crystal Cruises Yacht |Caribbean 

Year round in the Caribbean starting November 2017. This will be a great vacation for Millenials and even older folks in their 40s. Baby Boomers too.

Apparently promotional offers from just $2,995 each . Wow!

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Virtuoso Voyages.

 

Top Producer with Expert Knowledge on all Luxury Lines:
– Silversea
– Seabourn Cruise Line
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– SeaDream Yacht Club
– AmaWaterways
– Viking Cruises & Viking River Cruises

 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

four seasons preferred partner,
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.

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

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

 

Terre Blanche | A Personal Report

Dear Clients and Friends,
I hope you find this report from one of our partners helpful in your vacation planning. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for further details.
Josh

What a trip…

Just got back from a dreamy long weekend at Terre Blanche, a wonderful resort/destination nestled between Provence and Cote D’azur.

I landed in Nice airport on a Thursday afternoon and the Terre Blanche Mercedes class S was waiting for me and in less than 40 minutes I crossed the gated walls of the property, 1 ½ the size of Montecarlo.

The grounds are so beautiful and lush, in fact, you are in the middle of a beautiful Provencal forest and the only views of human civilization are the quaint and charming towns of Fayence, Callian and Tourrettes perched in the nearby hills.

The reception area is spread with the owner’s art collection and even it is spacious and airy, feels warm, in touch with the nature and the colours of the whole village/resort match with the earthy feeling of the area.

I was escorted to Villa Provence, a two bedroom villa with a stunning terrace and plunge pool that also acts as an immense whirlpool (I counted and you can invite up to 16 friends inside!); super spacious double sink bathrooms with bathtub and walking shower, a great kitchen room with a wine refrigerator stock with the best whites, roses and champagne, a full stocked bar…all this makes Villa Provence the perfect accommodation for a large family (sleep up to 6) or two couples.

On Friday morning I played at Le Riou, one of the two Championship golf courses, and I loved it! The golf facilities are world class and any golfer of any level will feel absolutely impress with them, from the Swing analysis, to the driving range and Le Riou & Le Chateau; the 19th hole was a fun lunch at Le Caroubiers, the amazing grill at the Club House.

After a fantastic massage at the award-winning spa, we rode 4×4 buggies through beautiful trails and we arrived in a tiny local winery where the owner ‘forced” us to taste some fantastic whites and roses.

To end the amazing day, we have dinner at Faventia, the one Michelin star at the property…that was a 4 hours dinner including the kitchen tour and the long debates and fun conversations with the more than charming team at the restaurant.

Saturday was the perfect day to explore the area in a vintage Citroen 2CV so we went to the farmers market in Fayence where I found beautiful hancrafted wool ‘echarpes’ and multiple non-touristy stands.

From there we went to visit Chateau d’Esclans, home of the famous Whispering Angel (a.k.a Hampton’s water) and we enjoyed a visit followed by wine tasting, including the most expensive rose in the world, Garrus.

After this fun morning, we stopped for lunch at world famous Chez Bruno, where all the dishes are truffle based, not just flavoured but totally full of shaved truffle and even a full 60g truffle in one of the dishes…also white truffle from Alba in a simple pasta dish, really spectacular and a must when in the area.

A leisure afternoon was needed after the 10 dishes truffle lunch and what a better place that our wonderful plunge pool at Villa Provence…then get dressed to party in Cannes, such a fun town and only 35 minutes from the property.

Sunday was also spectacular, we took a private boat from Cannes to Ile Sainte Marguerite and spent the day at La Guerite, the unofficial beach club of Terre Blanche…picture the perfect Sunday, by the water, with friends and good looking people all around (favorite Beach Club of Beyonce).

Sadly, everything great comes to an end too, and early Monday, I left the property direction Nice airport (40 minutes’ drive) but with a huge smile on my face, because I discovered an extraordinary and cool destination all around the property.

Huge shout-out to Rachel David, Candice Berger, Gilles Fouilleroux and the amazing team behind them at Terre Blanche for creating such an amazing experience and make me fall in love once more with Terre Blanche.

All the best!

Carlos

b0090271-a97a-4ee6-b482-790585322cc2.jpg
Carlos Quereda
Founder

f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n & t o b o o k

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
Sign up for our interesting but infrequent emails

facebook twitter flickr you tube
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