Archive for the ESCAPE Category

TREND ALERT: Money-Management Cruises

Posted in ESCAPE, NEWS on May 28, 2009 by transracial

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Even though it may be one of the costliest cruise lines around, Crystal Cruises is helping its passengers tackle their money woes.

This fall, the company is launching a series of voyages with on-board experts who will help cruisers learn to better handle their money and investments.

Their October 8th sailing between NYC and Montreal, for instance, features notable investment-world experts including former Deutsche Bank chairman Bob Froehlich who will provide his insights on investing in the current global economy.

Considering the cruise’s cost, crowd and conversation — this should make for an interesting high-seas get-together.

SMART TRAVEL ALERT: Deep Discounts at Anantara Si Kao in Thailand

Posted in ESCAPE, NEWS on May 21, 2009 by transracial

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If it wasn’t for the fact that Thailand is not exactly around the corner, we’d be booking a July trip for the new Anantara resort just south of Krabi on the Andaman Sea.

Not only does the luxe hideaway have intro rates from $199/night. But they have this totally cool deeper-discount deal going on for early birders.

Book 40 days in advance — and received a 40 percent room discount. Book 30 days in advance — and receive a 30 percent discount. 20 days = 20 percent; 10 days = 10 percent.

The offer is good through December 20 and includes breakfast for two.

We won’t be taking advantage of the deal — but we certainly like it.

DESTINATION DU JOUR: Tel Aviv

Posted in ESCAPE on May 21, 2009 by transracial

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Bravo Conde Nast Traveler. The luxe monthly has just published THIS thoroughly engaging feature on Israel’s cultural and commercial capital which right now is celebrating its centenary.

Author Adam Lebor is a long-time Transracial favorite, regular Economist contributor and author of the must-read book City of Oranges, which chronicles the history of Jews and Arabs in the ancient city of Jaffo.

Having written ourselves about Tel Aviv many, many times, we can confirm that unlike other glossy features, Lebor’s take on the city is spot-on and from an insider’s view.

He very much confirms that Tel Aviv is as cool as folks say it is. And doesn’t do so by trying to prove that Tel Aviv is just like every other city in the world. It’s not — and that’s what makes it so exciting.

And the pics are as dazzling as the reportage.

Only gaff: Failure to mention ace restaurant Catit — which last night held a special dinner in New York at the James Beard House honoring Tel Aviv and the culinary magic of chef Meir Adoni.

HAUTE HOTEL: Beirut’s Le Gray

Posted in ESCAPE, NEWS on May 19, 2009 by transracial

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Hip hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray is back in action this summer with the heavily-anticipated debut of his Le Gray in Beirut. Yes, Beirut!

Set in the heart of Beirut’s rapidly-recovering downtown business district, Le Gray is one of the first new-build hotels to open in the city for decades.

Having already scored a luxe BoBo crowd with his properties One Aldwych in London and Carlisle Bay in Antigua — both we can personally approve — Le Gray is expected to introduce a whole new level of culture-focused tourist to the Lebanese capital.

We were in Beirut a few years back where we hung with Transracial WSB and can confirm it’s a must-visit.

If you like what you see, look for a pair new Gray hotels launching in Morocco next year.

WE WANT TO GO TO: Shangri-La Resort, Maldives

Posted in ESCAPE on May 17, 2009 by transracial

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In our years on the road, we’ve had the luck of experiencing many tropical beaches – from the Caribbean to Asia and the Persian Gulf. But we’ve yet to make like all of the cool kids and get ourselves to the Maldives.

Not that we haven’t been invited.

Rather this gin-watered archipelago seems just a bit too far for a sit on the beach.

Which is why we’re keen to visit the new Shangri-La Maldives resort, when it opens next month.

Along with the requisite over-the-top villas and miles of powdery beaches, here is a Maldives hideaway with actual color and culture.

Located on its own island (see above), the resort is a short boat ride from neighboring Gan island, which is connected — by tiny bridges — to a series of five neighboring islands forming a 17km bike path to explore a more interesting side of local life, including small villages, fishing spots and isolated beaches.

We’re so there!

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Rocco Forte’s Hotel Augustine in Prague

Posted in ESCAPE, NEWS on May 13, 2009 by transracial

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Tomorrow sees the debut of the new Hotel Augustine in Prague, the latest property from super-chic boutique hotelier Rocco Forte (above, in beard, with hotel model).

Although we personally are not traveling right now, if we were — it would certainly be to Prague and the Augustine.

And why not. Its 101 rooms have been crafted from seven historic buildings — including the 13th century Augustinian St. Thomas’s Monastery, after which the hotel is named. Several practicing monks, in fact, still live in a separate part of the monastery, adjacent to the hotel grounds for an added dose of Bohemian (or is it Moravian?) authenticity.

There’s a spa — with hammam — 90 seat restaurant and pair of bars.

Best of all is Prague itself, one of our favorite cities anywhere in Europe.

New Low-Cost Carrier Taking Off in Dubai

Posted in ESCAPE on April 7, 2009 by transracial

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Finally some good news coming out of Dubai. June sees the debut of a new low-cost carrier — Flydubai — the first to be based in the Emirate.

Operating an all Boeing 737-800 fleet, the carrier will launch with service from Dubai to both Lebanon and Amman — armed with some £45 million of start-up capital.

It’s a smart move for the troubled Emirate — but one which might be a bit too late. Already, low-cost carriers including Jazeera Airways of Kuwait, Air Arabia from Sharjah, Nas of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain Air serve Dubai.

The debut also comes as Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates is offering unpaid leave to staffers as a way to grapple with a downturn in passenger numbers and service cuts.

Still, the Persian Gulf region still growing as a travel hub — and there might just be enough market capacity for everyone.