Friday, July 30, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: Our Venetian hideaway

As Venetian as you can be – and lusciously opulent. Luna Hotel Baglioni was an overnight stop during the Crusades, and the hotel is saturated with history and romance. A lavish combination of brocades, crystal, drapes and period furniture, Luna Baglioni presents the classic Venice – right down to its own gondola stop in front of the hotel. A gondola slid past as we stood there.
Some rooms of this family-owned property overlook the pretty little side canal, and others overlook St Mark’s square. Some extraordinary lagoon suites with huge terraces overlook Grand Canal. In the famed Marco Polo ballroom masked balls and musical events take place – and overnight guests eat breakfast among 18th century frescoes.

Our hideaway in Venice in the middle of it all…
Tip: take a taxi boat all the way from the airport to the hotel door.

A gondola slides by the entrance to Luna Baglioni – a boat stop a couple of steps from the door

Genuine period costumes, silken wallpapers, antiques and gleaming lobbies

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: Tenerife

We visited Tenerife as guests of the Spanish tourist board. Their mission was to show us that Tenerife suits the discerning traveller – in more ways than one. In fact we found four types of luxury:

1. LUXURY HOTELS

With its golden climate, Tenerife has proved fertile ground for luxury. It now has 20 five star hotels – more than Barcelona. We were shown many beautiful properties, but Abama is still our favourite. Like a tropical village, its terracotta buildings spread through super-luxuriant vegetation – offering views of banana palms and ocean from private balconies. Abama has 10 restaurants in superb and romantic settings, a secluded beach created from Saharan sands, and its own spectacular golf course.


A place to commune with each other and nature – terrace of an Abama suite

Apart from five star hotels, we experienced other kinds of luxury – and a few surprises:

2. A LIVING SEA

We were afloat for only 30 minutes off Costa Adeje before pilot whales swam up to the catamaran to commune with us – there is a 100% guarantee of seeing them in these waters, 2nd highest sighting rate after Hawaii. The male whales dive down 1 km to get deep sea squid. Because of this deep sea diving the boys live only to 40 and the girls till 65…


Communing with pilot whales – the supreme luxury of a living ocean


3. AMAZING NATURE

We crossed the island from semi-desert on the southern side over massive mountains rising high into the sky, up into luxuriant pine forests found only on Tenerife. Then into a rugged volcanic national park with unusual plants and the tallest mountain in Spain (3718m). One gets up to 3500 m with cable car, and there are walking paths through wild and wonderful terrain…


Mount Teide, 3718 m, strange rocks and rare plants – riches of the national park

4. CULTURE

In the greener north, we fell in love with a picturesque Mexican style town famous for its Corpus Christi festival, full of flowers, churches and handcrafts. And we drank local wine at a wine estate. There are many other luxuries to explore.


Mexican style began in the quaint old town of Orotava Tenerife

Monday, July 26, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: 2 X Four Seasons in Istanbul

Four Seasons Resort Istanbul at Sultanahmet.
Four Seasons Resort Istanbul at the Bosphorus.

So exquisite – and so different. Which should you choose for your visit to Istanbul? We decided it was best to combine BOTH Four Seasons at Sultanahmet and Four Seasons at the Bosphorus…

Four Seasons Bosphorous is a good start – a resort to revive body and spirit. With space and light, the former palace stands grandly on the shore of the straits with wide terraces offering views of water and boats, a spa full of Oriental mystique and a swimming pool by the sea. Only 20 minutes taxi ride from Sultanahmet out of rush hour.

Grandly on the shores of the Bosphorous, it offers resort-style experience

Click to enter a little closer into the magical world
of the spa  pool

An oriental haven with a stunning hammam -
click for more detail
There is more than the mosaic pool in the spa – there is another pool by the Bosphorous with views of boats bobbing on the green waters of the straits

The rooms have grace and with keyhole windows still capture light and views.

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A garden room - low category big size

Shining corridors, luminous spaces  

Light, grace and art at Four Seasons Sultanhamet


The Sultanahmet property is darker and more cosy, with a heritage as a former prison. Its mood resonates with the past, ascetism and mystery. And it’s a few minutes’ walk from the cultural treasures: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace. Just 20 minutes walk from the Grand Bazaar – so you can rest between sorties. If you want to sit still, the two mosques can be admired from the Four Seasons terraces.

Moorish architecture and breathtaking views from
Four Seasons at Sultanahmet
In summer the Bosphorous property has extra charm with its outdoor pool and views of sparkling turquoise water. In winter the Sultanahmet property comes into its own …

Friday, July 23, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: WESTIN PALACE IN MADRID

Built in 1912 by a king, The Palace exudes glorious extravagance from the past. Now as The Westin Palace Madrid it is still a destination in its own right. The spectacular cupola of stained glass is a must see, arching over the restaurant. Between meals it is a serene place to write or read, bathed in magical daylight filtering through the glass dome. Spanish high society comes to Westin Palace for weddings, tapas and dining. Watching the beautiful people cross the lobby is like flipping through a Vogue magazine. And people love to be photographed there.




More reasons why we loved The Westin Palace, Madrid:
• 3 minutes walk from the Prado, treasure house of art
• 2 minutes from a street of trendy tapas bars where Madrid people go
• Beautiful rooms inspired by royal days. And some really palatial suites with original furniture
• Our favourite: Premium View Room. These overlook Fuente de Neptuno, a beautiful gushing fountain.

We also had a Spanish lunch at our much loved Hospes Madrid, served along with friendly personal attention. Built in a residential block, with only 40 rooms, Hospes is very personal and very pleasant, full of cosy corners and surprises. Close to designer shopping and leafy Retiro Park.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: Trancoso, Brazil



Trancoso has been hyped in press all over the world as one of Brazil's hottest hot spots to visit. Right in the town centre of Trancoso a collection of old houses have been gently transformed and turned into a bohemian hotel. Uxua is secretly tucked away but still in the middle of everything. Our two favorite things about this hotel is:
1 - the social area with a gorgeous pool tiled entirely with natural rounded pebble stones. A perfect place to spend the day lounging, bathing, reading and socializing. The bar, restaurant and pool is in an open plan design.

2 - the beach club. Just 10 minutes walk from the the hotel you will find the Uxua Beach Club. An old fisherman boat serves as the bar. Each guest has a cabana reserved for their use. Teh bar serves drinks and light food.



Above is a picture of the entrance to Ze e Zilda - one of the houses. This one has 3 bedrooms.

Monday, July 19, 2010

LUFTHANSA ITALIA BRINGS GLAMOUR BACK TO EUROPEAN FLIGHTS



These days one is not spoiled when flying within Europe. Over the last years we have seen many elements of the service concept being removed over and over again. In days like these it is therefore even more refreshing to see that there are exceptions to the norm. Carriers with a fresh approach taking pride in giving their passengers a pleasant experince onboard their aircrafts. Select Collection had the opportunity to sample Lufthansa Italia's new daily nonstop flight from Stockholm to Milan. On this route in economy class Lufthansa Italia serves a hot meal with bread and generous rounds of water, soft drinks and wine. If you are lucky there's even a choice of two meals.

In Business Class the service concept is generous for an Intra-Europe flight. A three course meal is served, see pictures below:



A starter with Italian delicacies - asparagus rolled in air dried ham, dried tomatoes, artichoke and parmesan cheese. The main course is Osso Buco.



Or if you prefer you could have a simple but very tasty pasta



Dessert served with Fennel Tea



A final surprise before landing - Italian ice cream

Quite some service for a 2 h 30 minute flight within Europe

Friday, July 16, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: Botswana



The above picture is from King's Pool located right on the river that separates Namibia and Botswana – a perfect place for game drives on the river with their double-decker boat and jeep safaris!




At &beyond Xaranna you can safari both by boat and jeep. The camp and its houses are bright with a lot of white, lime and soft pink. The breakfast was amazing with a world class omelet.



At Mombo Camp the game is not scarce. On the game drives we saw a lot of lions, jackals, a female leopard with two cubs, giraffes, zebras, hippos, buffalo, rhino and of course a lot of elephants as well.







Above a picture from Mombo Camp

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SELECT COLLECTION SPA PARTNER DANIELA STEINER WINS AWARD

Select Collection Spa has the exclusivity to perform beauty treatments in Sweden using Daniela Steiner products. All treatments take place in the specially designed room which we call Daniela Steiner Care Suite. We are happy to announce that Daniela Steiner has recently been voted best Hotel Spa in Europe for its spa at the Rosa Alpina Hotel in Italy by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller

In addition Daniela Steiner was voted second best spa in the world. Select Collection Spa in Stockholm is proud to perform facials, manicures, pedicures and more using Daniela Steiner products and methods. Click here to learn more about Daniela Steiner

Monday, July 12, 2010

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO: Corumbau in Brazil



Select Collection staff regularly visit the properties featured in our brochure. We take pride in being able to give detailed information about each property we sell so that we can match the perfect hotel for each client’s individual needs. Most recently we have visited a gem on the Brazilian coast in the Bahia region. The Fazenda São Francisco do Corumbau is located far away from everything in the small community of Corumbau. 10 units are generously spread out on the former coconut plantation and guests find calmness with walks along the almost endless wild, untouched beach in front of the Fazenda. Originally designed as a summer house for the owners the property was converted into a small hotel. The quality of accommodations are high, the food is authentically local with ingredients from the property’s own organic garden and the staff all come from the local village of Corumbau. Altogether this ensures a local upon arrival experience in this unspoilt paradise remotely located from mass tourism.



Fazenda São Francisco is the perfect getaway for couples or families looking for a quiet, authentic and unique experience. The beach is among the most beautiful in Brazil , the rooms and bungalows are of high standards with air condition, twice daily housekeeping, minibars and wonderful sunken bathtubs in the top category bungalows. The staff are eager to please. While English is not their forte a little dose of patience will make it a very pleasant experience. Contact us if you want more detailed information about this truly unique experience in Brazil.









Friday, July 9, 2010

SELECT COLLECTION SPA IN THE PRESS

Since the opening of the Select Collection Spa in Stockholm there has been quite a few features in different online media. Click on the below titles to read more (opens in a pop up window)

be inspired
Plaza Kvinna
Trevlig Helg
Travel News
Improve me
Quintessentially

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LUFTHANSA - NEW FIRST CLASS

Just over a month ago Lufthansa launched its operation of the superjumbo Airbus A380 and along with it came the brand new First Class cabin and seat. Select Collection has previewed the First Class Cabin onboard the aircraft and would like to share some personal photos with our customers. Enjoy!



The new seat design has been inspired by Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt when it comes to choice of materials and colors.



Lufthansa’s signature red rose is incorporated into the new seat design as well. The sleek flat screen is a huge improvement compared to the old First Class entertainment system.



The seat in bed mode. Lufthansa has upped the product with a soft padded mattress placed on top of the seat along with a comfortable duvet covered in crisp bed linen. The amenity kit is designed by Porsche Design. (For passengers using the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt Lufthansa use the Porsche Panamera among other cars to take you from the terminal to the aircraft. Click here to see an animation of Lufthansa’s First Class cabin on the Airbus A380

Monday, July 5, 2010

A WINNING SPA CONCEPT



Select Collection Spa in our Stockholm premises has been open just over 3 weeks now. We can happily conclude that the concept has been well received with over 150 bookings in the books just after 5 days of operation. Many repeaters have already found their favorite spot for beauty treatments such as facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing and massage treatments from worldwide destinations. Also the lifestyle shop has been much appreciated for its unique gifts. The two best selling items so far is a handmade magnolia hat from Madagascar designed by Sans-Arcidet in Paris and the beautiful body products from Les Sens de Marrakech scented with Ylang Ylang & Sandal.