After spending 4 nights in a typical convention-type hotel, The Hilton in Durban, a stone’s throw from the site of Indaba, a trade show about Africa, I craved a Virtuoso-style property. You know the kind I mean, right? A place in which you feel comfortable, pampered, and where you can, in one deep exhale, blot out the memories of any irritations—welcome to our suite at the Olive, a boutique hotel in Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek.
Our accommodations could easily be featured in Dwell or Architectural Digest—contemporary, clean lines, natural materials and fibers, shallow pools by the front door and a lounge area and plunge pool in the rear. I’m sitting on a taupe leather sofa, the pieces sewn with purposely unfinished edges and my feet are propped up on a gnarled tree root table. Enough, though, of my words—you have photos to tell the story. TTFN—I’m off to luxuriate for the evening!
Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s space travel company, had a momentous day on April 29, 2013! The test pilots completed the first rocket-propelled test flight—ever! Consumer space travel is becoming a reality. In case you missed the event, here’s a video of the flight and a video of Branson’s thoughts on the successful event. And, if this ignites a flame within you to experience a flight into Space, contact me, email@example.com, today and we’ll reserve a seat for you aboard Virgin Galactic!
…or “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
The Traveling Kings pride themselves on experiencing destinations, hotels, and cruise ships so we can speak with authority to you, our friends and clients, about the places we recommend (and, on some occasions, pan). The past few days are no exception to the rule.
I, Barbara, valiantly set forth on a journey to Torres del Paine in Patagonia—an area known for its natural beauty, hikes, treks, fishing and rock climbing—without my intrepid mountaineering spouse, Michael. What? Yes, Queen King donned her tiara, packed my North Face jacket, hiking boots, and long underwear (or as we say, cushy first layer) and headed out to explore the wilds of Patagonia. Keep in mind that I define adventure as staying in a Holiday Inn that has a black and white TV and no pool, so my idea of adventure has a big SOFT in front of it (Seeking Outdoor Fun Temporarily)
So what happens when Tiara meets Tierra? LOVE! Tierra Patagonia has my name and my lifestyle all over it! Gracefully tucked into the natural beauty and landscape of Patagonia, Tierra Patagonia achieves the perfect blend of adventure meets creature comforts: breathtaking views everywhere (yes, everywhere!); to-die-for comfortable beds; seasoned guides for the myriad of outdoor options available (thank you, Sergio and Carlos!); food fit for a King (that would be me, of course!); a Spa that out-spas many classy spas I’ve visited; and a staff that almost anticipates my needs.
Day 1 I opted for a half-day introduction to Torres del Paine and a visit to the Blue Lake, a perfect way to convince a timid city girl she can get into the adventure mode without ruining her nail polish, yet a great way for the intrepid to incorporate local lore, an overview of flora and fauna, and a sampler of treks to be had. Fiona, from Tierra Hotels main office in Santiago, immediately sensed my desire to hold onto a sturdy arm, and magically appeared every time I wondered how I’d maneuver an incline or descent. I also learned that Fiona has a wickedly dry sense of humor so I immediately bonded with her!
Day 2 featured an all-day excursion that I was told would include about 20 minutes of walking. Well, let’s make that a couple of hours, but, hey, had I known this in advance, I probably would have chickened out. Instead, I was treated to one of the most enjoyable experiences I could imagine! We saw the Towers (Torres) from a variety of locations and enjoyed lakes, rivers, mountains, glaciers, ice fields, lots of guanacos (similar to llama), condors, and a mama puma with two cubs–one of which was missing a tail (I want to know who did that and why? Mean, jealous male puma—shame on you!).
Today, while my friends went for a horseback ride, I stayed indoors—sitting here blogging, sipping cappocino, and preparing for a massage! Chris, the manager at Tierra Patagonia, has mastered the art of attending to a guest’s needs without being obsequious and he has succeeded in making each of us feel like the most important person in the world.
After communicating with Michael via email, we’ve scheduled a return visit here in 2014 and we will add the Tierra property in the Atacama Desert and the Explora Lodge on Easter Island. Who knew that Tierra would add some class to the Tiara?
Vacation photos really crystallize those wonderful memories. A few days ago while doing some Great GetawayS graphic design, I searched for a vacation photo to go with the text I had written. I wanted to add a vacation photo from one of our journeys, an image that conveyed both darkness and light. What a wonderful experience I had!
I began with the most recent vacation we had taken and worked my way back through the years. I’d find a photo – a sunset while have cocktails in the bush in Kenya, an early morning shot from the balcony of Esprit St. Germain in Paris, a group of people praying in Lhasa, a mountain gorilla feeding her baby in Rwanda-and think, “That’s the perfect photo!” Then I’d keep searching, just to be sure I had the very best choice. Finally, I picked a photo taken by Michael on a trip to New Zealand (the photo below).
This art project became so much more—-I enjoyed a pleasant few minutes of time travel, of recalling those experiences I keep wrapped as memories in my heart, of enjoying each journey again and again. The moral of this story: Take lots of photos of your travels and of you enjoying your vacation. It is so worth it! Even when you want to scream, “I don’t want another photo of me”, put a smile on your face and say, “Cheese!” You will be so glad you did!
Want to share your dreams and get paid for it? Me too! I’ve heard of people paying a therapist to share dreams but not getting paid for these idyllic moments! Here’s your opportunity:
Enter the 2013 Virtuoso Travel Dreams Survey by March 31, 2013. You will be automatically entered into a drawing for a luxury Crystal cruise in the Baltic or possibly one of 5 $1000 prizes. How cool is that? Last year one of Great Getaways Travel’s clients, Mr and Mrs Sparks, won the grand prize! Maybe this year we’ll be wishing you “Bon Voyage!”