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Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa Re-Opens in 2018

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Following the hotel’s recent closure due to Hurricane Irma, Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa which opened last fall as this destination’s newest hotel, announces its plans to re-open as soon as possible in 2018.

“This time last year we were diligently preparing for the grand opening of Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, but damage to the hotel in the wake Hurricane Irma is unfortunately forcing the hotel to remain shuttered this winter season,” said Marc Dobbels, general manager, Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa. “We are terribly disappointed but determined to bring our beloved hotel back for the 2018 season,” said Dobbels.

According to Dobbels, renovation plans for the award-winning hotel are well underway and while designers have been instructed to return the hotel to its original splendor, there may be a few surprises.

“Le Barthélemy captured the essence of St. Barths with its understated, chic style that made our guests feel so at home and we know they look forward to returning,” said Dobbels. “Irma has presented a challenge, but she did not damper our spirits nor our resilience. Our staff, family and friends are well and now we turn our attention to the work at hand: bringing Le Barthélemy back for the 2018 season better than ever.”

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Fete Imperiale and the City of Music

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Adam’s Austrian Fairytale

By Adam Szymanski

I have had the pleasure of working with Sacher Hotels for three years now. To be honest, I thought I knew these hotels in and out…but man was I wrong! I just returned from hosting the most incredible FAM trip to stay at each of the two hotels (Vienna and Salzburg), and amazement aside, it was one of the most informative trips of my life. As I said, I know Sacher Hotels in and out, but because of this trip…I now understand just how iconic they truly are.

Our trip began in the exquisite, historic city of Vienna. Our trip was co-sponsored with Austrian Airlines and they were kind enough to provide us with international business class tickets. They recently recreated their entire business class experience, and it was very impressive – definitely something to check out. I especially liked the fully-flat beds and amenity kit. Upon arrival, we were met and taken to the iconic Sacher Hotel. Greeted and effortlessly checked-in, we had the afternoon to spend touring the old city. Our tour didn’t last long, as we had Waltz Lessons planned for us! None of us had ever really waltzed (for the most part), so the lessons were mainly spent laughing and trying to do the basic four steps. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. The day ended perfectly with outdoor dining at the local restaurant “Heuriger”, specializing in Austrian Cuisine. After filling up on as much wiener schnitzel we could handle, we headed back to our palace for the night.

The next day, we had a fabulous breakfast, followed by an early morning factory tour to see how the world-famous Sacher Torte is made. It was great to see, and of course we stuffed our faces once again (this time before noon)! We headed back to the hotel to begin getting ready for the Fete Imperiale, or the Summer Ball. Each of the ladies on the trip were given a personal, private hair and makeup stylist to help them prepare for the night. All necessary of course when you’re going to a European Grand Ball!

The evening began with the most incredible surprise – the Sacher team arranged for horse-driven carriages to take us to the royal palace. Nope, not dreaming. Everything you read about in fairytales growing up was happening for us at that very moment. We arrived at the ball, where each of us were personally greeted by Mrs. Guertler (Hostess of the ball and Owner of Sacher) herself. We watched the ceremonies, then danced the night away until 5 a.m.! It was unforgettable to say the least.

How to follow-up on that?! The next day was pretty incredible as well. Mrs. Guertler invited our FAM group to have lunch with her at her private home. We were all still in the afterglow from the night before, but somehow, she still managed to impress us even more. Lunch was fabulous of course, like something out of Real Simple magazine. Afterward, we headed to the train station to board our train to Salzburg!

Upon arrival in Salzburg, we were transferred to the Hotel Sacher Salzburg, checked-in, and immediately headed out on an impromptu city tour. We stumbled upon a few of the filming locations from The Sound of Music which was very cool. The night only got better as we then attended a private performance of Mozart’s famous concertos at Mirabell Palace – A unique and unforgettable moment.

We ended the trip with another day touring the beautiful city of Salzburg, including visits to the von Trapp Mansion, the Palace (and lunch there, too!), Mozart’s Birthplace, and more! We ended the tour in the lakes region, at this breathtaking place called Salzkammergut…say that 5 times! It was the perfect ending to our Austrian fairy tale. All in all, it was one of the best moments of my life.

So many wonderful memories from our trip…it really was one of the best FAM’s I have ever been on!!!
From learning the secrets to baking the perfect Sacher Torte at the factory to our fantasy like horse & carriage ride to the ball, our stay in Vienna was truly memorable! Of course I won’t forget our waltz lessons which were so much fun and sure gave us a lot of laughs! The impeccable service, beautiful accommodations and sheer authenticity of this historic property truly define the Hotel Sacher…..and we can’t leave out the best wienerschnitzel ever!!

Judy SteinOvation Travel
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Our Girls Trip to London

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Sari’s Family Getaway – Part 1: London

By Sari Freeman

This was our first ever girl’s only trip! When Alissa (my youngest,), graduated from high school, I was determined to have quality time with my now, grown up daughters (Jenny is the eldest).  As luck would have it, their “mum” has connections in London!! With two fabulous hotels St. James Hotel & Club and Flemings Mayfair, accompanied by our new “Destination Experience”:  Chauffeur Drive Britain, I put a wonderful visit to together!

Upon arrival, we were met in style by Chauffeur Drive Britain with a Mercedes S Class! We were whisked to The Flemings Mayfair where Branca, (Guest Relations Manager and secret weapon) welcomed us with open arms!  We immediately felt the love!  I hadn’t stayed since their gorgeous redo. The new Lobby is far more chic and welcoming! Arriving early, we took a stroll around Mayfair, while they finished preparing our amazing two bedroom apartment! This was an ideal set up for us, staying three nights, we were able to spread out, unpack and repack after a few purchases!!  What you really must know about Flemings’ is that it is one of the only hotels that boasts apartments and there are ten, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with kitchens and luxurious spaces.

There were several things we needed to do (aside from shopping): Visit the Tate Modern, see a show, experience the Eye and a traditional afternoon tea. We were in town 4 nights so had the time to do them all!  Alissa, the most passionate about musicals, wanted to see Kinky Boots and it was great fun and as they say in England “well done!!”

We set out to conquer the town! The first day we were on our own and did a lot of walking! We found a lovely restaurant in the Shepherds Market area a few short blocks away, called Al Sultan. This little Lebanese restaurant was ideal for a light dinner where we shared all the wonderful appetizers. The next morning, we had a gorgeous breakfast at Flemings in their new Ormer restaurant where both Henrik Muehle, our remarkable General Manager and Colin Exton, our fabulous Director of Sales & Marketing welcomed us! They made us feel right at home! We loved the breakfast, it was scrumptious and the next day, our server, remembered our names, likes and dislikes. Now that is service!

Chauffeur Drive Britain sent Gary to pick us up along with Pepe the guide who was amazing!! I had requested a trip out to Windsor Castle and due to restrictions that only their guides can take you through. Pepe prepped us while in the car on the way.  We loved it and after the tour, we dined at The Crown, a wonderful restaurant in an historic building in nearby Bray. Then we had originally planned to go to Oxford but the girls talked Pepe and they decided on the spot to return to London to do a bit of touring there instead. So Pepe gave us a brief “Jack the Ripper” and a bit of a “street art” tour too! He was excellent and wonderful with young travelers. Afterward, we went to a very cool restaurant: www.dishoom.com. It was very good but it gets very busy so you really must go early to avoid a long line!

For our last night, we moved over to the St. James’s Hotel & Club, our quintessentially British Five-Star boutique hotel., They had just completed a beautiful soft goods refurbishment. The new fabrics were a combination of wool, silk and velvet, in lovely muted tones with a pop of blue and green giving the hotel a fresher more inviting look! Jeroen Suijker, our wonderful DOS, along with Madeleine Calon, our fabulous head concierge (first female concierge in the UK) and VP of the Concierge Society in England greeted us at reception! Anjana Pandya, our General Manager was traveling, but left some lovely gifts for the girls and welcome goodies!! They escorted us up to the penthouse (with exclusive elevator access) to the Westminster Suite that features a stunning terrace (the largest of 10) with gorgeous landscaping, where we proceeded to open our bottle of champagne and made a toast to the skyline of London!

Our trip was outstanding and London is a truly fabulous destination for culture, history, theater, dining and of course, shopping!

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Statement from The Palms Turks & Caicos and The Shore Club

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Statement from Hartling Group Resorts; The Palms Turks & Caicos, and The Shore Club Long Bay Beach

Hurricane Irma passed through the Turks & Caicos Islands as a storm of epic proportions, and so we are pleased to report that our staff and guests safely weathered the storm without injury. We express our deep appreciation to our resort operations teams, and for the efforts of the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, local police, emergency responders and other officials who worked tirelessly before, during and after the storm to mitigate damages and ensure the safety of everyone.

After careful assessments, The Palms and the Shore Club resorts sustained no major structural damages during the storm, only extensive landscaping and some water damage. To this end, our properties will close to allow time to complete the necessary repairs and clean-up. We also take this opportunity to embark on some enhancement projects which will add to the overall guest experience. The Palms and The Shore Club will reopen on September 30th.

We have fully resumed administrative office functions at all resorts, including reservations. We are contacting guests and travel professionals who are booked to arrive over the period of closure to reschedule their stays. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge many of our staff and members in the community lost their homes and their belongings due to flooding and wind damages. We are committed to assisting those persons as we all work together to restore this great community. We also wish to extend our concern and best wishes to our neighbors in the region who were also impacted by the storm.

We will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available. For the most up-to-date information and for information regarding reservations, please call toll-free our reservations department (866) 877-7256, or email us at reservations@thepalmstc.com; reservations@theshoreclubtc.com.

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Israel My Way Delivers

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A Trip of a Lifetime

By Sari Freeman

Israel, to my surprise, was far more fascinating than I ever expected. While I had heard this many times, it wasn’t until I visited myself, that I really got it. Something I learned quite some time ago, was that the difference between a good trip and a “trip of a lifetime” is the expertise of the operator/guide. I had experienced the best possible exposure to Israel that I could have ever imagined. The sites, the history, cultures were amazing and inspiring, yet it was the people to whom they introduced us that made the greatest impact on me.

Join us on Israel My Way’s trip of a lifetime as it was orchestrated for my first trip to Israel.

We had a group of seasoned owners, independents, and managers, all of whom had traveled extensively around the world. The trip started out with what looked like a wonderful itinerary, but what unfolded, was nothing less than magic. It was the people we met and homes to which Yoav took us that made the entire journey a spiritual and an intimate one, rather than just a view from the outside.

Eric, our fearless leader, who led our entire 6-day trip, has a knack for reaching out to anyone on the street to find a spontaneous interaction that could touch us all. One of the most moving experiences I had was when we were by the Jordan River baptismal site and a lady who was soaking wet (obviously she was just baptized) walked by. Eric stopped her to ask her about her experience. She completely burst into tears while telling us about her family and personal struggles. She had come to this spiritual place fora  purpose. She felt blessed and was completely elated.

Israel - The sights, flavors, sounds, experiences were extraordinary. The people's relationships were the keys.

Joyce StriarProtravel International

From outstanding hotels in the cities and countryside to awesome activities like a cross country helicopter ride and a walk through a Roman storm drain this has been an amazing adventure. And yet, there is so much more I'd like to experience here! I'll be back!

Damian McCabeMcCabe World Travel

Really enjoyed taking a graffiti tour of the Florentine neighborhood with Shir'el, a wonderfully passionate ambassador for Tel Aviv.

Angela BurnsStrong Travel

On our first day, as we were walking around the beautiful, diverse, Old Jerusalem, we worked our way through the market and narrow streets. Eric found us a spot from which we had an outstanding vantage point. From a roof top, we experienced the full view of the Dome of the Rock to which so many people were walking during the call to prayer, and the Western Wall, where you could see the Jewish people praying. It was unbelievable. It was remarkable. It was mesmerizing.

There was a peace that I felt during and after I left Israel. We met so many wonderful, truly spiritual people who seemed so very much at peace with themselves. They seemed so happy with what they were doing. Yoav and Eric introduced us to some incredible women, who were strong yet vulnerable and incredible at what they did.