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Luxury Travel Insider

English, Cultural, 1 season, 213 episodes, 5 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes
About
Do you love travel? Are you always searching for the absolute best experiences? Join us each week for an insightful chat with some of luxury travel’s most iconic people. We’ll interview travel experts like Robert Bowe who has been part of the guest experience at Ashford Castle for 33 years; Jamie Gaymer, the lead conservation manager at an ultra-luxe safari lodge; or the Owners and General Managers of some of the world’s top hotels like Amangiri, Canaves Oia, and Zannier Hotels. You’ll leave each episode with an Insider appreciation for new destinations, luxury travel, and all the heart that goes into creating these magical experiences. Luxury Travel Insider is hosted by Sarah Groen, an expert in luxury travel. Sarah has traveled to 100 countries and all 7 continents, is a contributing travel columnist for CEO World Magazine, and is the owner of Bell & Bly Travel, a top travel advising firm working with executives and entrepreneurs.
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Rajasthan, India | Expert Panel: Transformation from Tourist to Traveler

Today we’re headed to experience a tapestry of majestic palaces, sprawling deserts, and colorful festivals.  Whether you’re hot air ballooning, riding a camel, or enjoying the fabulous food - Rajasthan, the largest state in India - is sure to be nothing short of spectacular.  We have a fun show for you today, with my friend and partner in the region, Anil Pathak and historian, hotelier, and arts enthusiast, Aman Nath. We chat about everything from the Maharajas, to how locals see the meaning of life, to the more off the beaten path ways to experience this unique culture.  I hope you enjoy this colorful episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/10/202449 minutes, 11 seconds
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Ravello | Palazzo Avino: The Amalfi Coast's Hidden Gem

I’m excited for you to join me today in a less often visited area of the Amalfi Coast. High up on the cliffs, overlooking the azure waters of the Med, sits the charming town of Ravello. Take in the smells of roses, lemons, and fresh sea breezes while learning about some of the richest history on the coast. We’re settling into the historic Palazzo Avino owned and run by my friends, Mariella Avino and her sister Attilia Avino. We talk about how Ravello has remained a hidden gem and why it has always been a haven for celebs like Jackie Kennedy, Orson Wells, and Humphrey Bogart.  We also chat about the history of the Palazzo, the best ways to enjoy the Amalfi Coast, local art, and more.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/3/202441 minutes, 20 seconds
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Hong Kong | Rosewood GM, Hugo Montanari: Urban Gardens, People Watching, and a Sense of Place

Today we’re heading to the bustling, yet beautiful metropolis of Hong Kong. Instead of telling you about it in my own words today, I have a couple quotes that I think really sum it up:  Journalist Peter Lindberg “Life in Hong Kong transcends cultural and culinary borders, such that nothing is truly foreign and nothing doesn’t belong.” And then a little tongue in cheek from British writer Jonathan Gash, but it’ll hit home for those of you who truly love luxury hotels: “Hong Kong is the benchmark; everybody else's affluence is mere tat. Until you've experienced that perfume-washed air as polarized glass doors embrace you into a luxury hotel's plush interior, you've only had a dud replica of the real thing.” Joining me today to chat about Hong Kong and the amazing Rosewood Hong Kong, is General Manager Hugo Montanari. We chat a lot about what makes Hong Kong truly great - from the natural beauty, to the shopping, and the food.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/26/202435 minutes, 55 seconds
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Easter Island/Rapa Nui | Expert Panel: Mystery, Moai, and Mana

Today, we embark on a journey to a place shrouded in mystery — mesmerizing Easter Island. Nestled in the heart of the vast Pacific Ocean, this remote paradise beckons with its Moai statues, pristine beaches, and a rich cultural heritage. I previously thought a visit to Easter Island would be mostly focused around seeing the famous statues, but I now understand that this destination is so much more. When you think of the remoteness of the people and their reliance on the land, and weave in the history of struggle and limited natural resources - this far flung land provides a case study as a microcosm for the rest of the world. And you’ll hear in this episode how it literally blew my mind.  Joining me today are Matias Alamo and Pepe Huke, General Manager, and Lead Guide of Explora, the top luxury lodge on the island. We dive into everything from the vibrant Rapa Nui Culture to the amazing experiences you can have on the island today.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/5/202447 minutes, 53 seconds
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On Location | Japan: Tokyo & Kyoto

I can’t tell you how excited I have been for this trip and to be recording our first “On Location” episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  While I love all my trips, this one is really special because Japan is brand new for me! Yep - I’ve been to over 100 countries and all 7 continents twice or more, but this is my first time here.  I was supposed to visit in 2020 but of course the Pandemic had other plans. Now all of a sudden, Japan is one of our top destinations this year at Bell & Bly Travel, so I just needed to see it for myself!  This week I’ll be recording some of my impressions of the country, my favorite experiences, and answering some of your questions too.  Pour a glass of your favorite Japanese whisky and join me on this adventure to Tokyo & Kyoto!   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/22/202423 minutes, 23 seconds
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Faroe islands | Expert Panel: Peace & Quiet (and Puffins!)

Today we’re headed well off the beaten path, to the area nestled between the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea. The secluded Faroe Islands boast rugged cliffs, emerald green landscapes, puffins galore, and a vibrant local culture for such a small population.  You might come here for the hiking or the bird life, but what you’ll leave with is a sense of peace, having experienced the luxurious feeling of being on the edge of the world.  Our guests today are our partners in the region, Kristin Björnsdóttir and Joaquin Linares Cordoba who are experienced in leading travelers to discover these islands. We chat about everything from Viking legends to Michelin Starred restaurants, to bird life.  .  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on social: Instagram LinkedIn  
4/24/202447 minutes, 43 seconds
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Austria | Expert Panel: Culture, Coffee, Cuisine, and Countryside

Today we’re headed to a small country, nestled in the heart of Europe. Austria surprises and then charms its visitors with stunning Alpine landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and elegant imperial architecture. Whether you’re searching for the perfect apple strudel, want to hike in hills filled with the “Sound of Music,”  or experience the famous coffee culture, operas, or Viennese Balls - Austria has something for almost everyone. My guests today are Thomas Bachinger, our expert on all things Vienna; Christoph Reiter from the Salzburg region, and Michael Bode who is a cheese sommelier and owns a wine company in the Alpine region! The four of us chat on everything from Austrian wine, to off the beaten path areas of the country, to what inspired all these amazing composers who spent time in the region.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
4/17/202459 minutes, 10 seconds
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Ireland | Adare Manor

Today we’re winding our way down an idyllic country road in Ireland to the famed Adare Manor. Set in a charming village of thatched cottages, blooming rose gardens, and cobblestone streets, this jewel of County Limerick will have you wanting to come back over and over again.  Joining me today is Brendon O’Connor, the General Manager of Adare Manor, which recently won the Conde Nast award for Best Resort in Europe. Brendan and I chat about everything from the potato famine to genealogy, to hidden secrets of the Manor, and the incredible local food and culture. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Western Ireland, this is the episode for you!  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/27/202452 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Maldives | Velaa Private Island: Hospitality Done Differently

Today we’re headed back to the Indian Ocean to visit a slice of the Maldives. This archipelago, spanning 500 miles north to south, is the stuff dreams are made of.  Landing in the Noonu Atoll, we’re diving into all things Velaa Private Island resort with its General Manager, Wayne Milgate.  One of the most luxurious retreats in the world, Velaa Private Island boasts exclusive over-water villas, a Troon golf course, water park for kids, and some of the friendliest service you’ll find anywhere.  Wayne tells incredible stories of the founding of Velaa, the staff going above and beyond for guests, lavish holiday parties, and incredible experiences.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/20/202445 minutes, 21 seconds
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Castello Di Vicarello | Owner, Neri Baccheschi Berti: Love at First Sight in Tuscany

I’m excited for you to join me today in the southern part of Tuscany, an area called Maremma, and one we haven’t yet explored on the show. Here you’ll find sun-kissed olive groves, pristine stretches of coastline, and of course, gorgeous wines.  We’re settling in at the stunning Castello di Vicarello for a chat with my friend, and the owner, Neri Baccheschi Berti who in a surprising turn of events, tells us how he was actually born inside the castle during its renovation!  Neri and I chat about his family, how they came to fall in love with this piece of history, and the path that took them from fashion and creativity to becoming accidental hoteliers. We also dive into ancient Italian rivalries, Tuscan cuisine, and learning how to slow down and take it all in.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/13/202442 minutes, 18 seconds
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Azores & Madeira | Expert Panel: A Unique Expression of Portuguese Culture

Today we’re venturing into the Atlantic, making stops on the islands of The Azores and Madeira. Imagine stunning verdant volcanic landscapes, dramatic coastal cliffs, and temperate weather all year round. Don’t forget incredible food and a unique expression of Portuguese culture.  My guests today are Filipe Fraga from Madeira and Beatriz Sousa from The Azores. We chat about the differences and commonalities between these two destinations, the unique environment, and the authentic experiences offered by each. If you’re looking for a unique destination in Europe, either of these destinations will be sure to impress.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/6/202441 minutes, 3 seconds
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AmaWaterways | President, Rudi Schreiner: The Past and Future of River Cruising

My guest today is Rudi Schreiner, co-founder and President of AmaWaterways. AMA has been sharing its passion for river cruising around the world for more than 20 years, but Rudi has a deep history going back to the very beginnings of this type of travel.  Rudi shares with us the history of river cruising, his fascinating personal history, some entrepreneurial stories from the early days of AMA, and more.  We also hear about his favorite stops along some of the world’s most famous waterways, behind the scenes details about the ships, and about some up and coming new destinations as well.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/28/202453 minutes, 36 seconds
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French Polynesia | Raphael Bernard: Getting to the Heart of Tahiti

Today we’re headed to experience a tapestry of turquoise lagoons, emerald-green islands, and coral-fringed shores.  Whether you’re diving with sharks, climbing the ridge of a volcanic peak, or relaxing in your overwater bungalow - French Polynesia, or Tahiti for short - is sure to be nothing short of spectacular.  We have a fun show for you today, with my friend and partner in the region, Raphael Bernard. Raphael has lived on a couple different islands in the archipelago and eats and breathes it every day. We talk about everything from the local stereotypes of each island, to the more off the beaten path ways to visit, to the food, and the unique culture.  I hope you enjoy this tropical episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
2/21/202440 minutes, 11 seconds
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In The Now | On The Ground in Ecuador, A Must Listen

The date of recording for today’s show is February 7th, 2024. That’s important because our show today is very topical and time sensitive.  As some of you may know there has been a crackdown on organized crime and drug trade in Ecuador over the past month. Sadly for me and my friends and partners in the region, this crack down and the resulting sensationalization from the media has resulted in many visitors cancelling trips to this beautiful country… at exactly the time that Ecuadorians need visitors the most.  Joining me today are Stephanie Bonam Carter, the owner of Galapagos Safari Camp, Fernando Polanco Plaza, the owner of Hacienda Zuleta who you’ll recognize from past shows, and my friend Clark Kotula who is an expert in the region and works with top properties across Latin America.  We start the episode talking about the situation and the history, but please listen through to the parts where we discuss daily life in Ecuador, how things are just as they’ve always been, and all the positive things that are happening in the country.  I’m a bit emotional after recording this episode because I want you all to know that at the end of the day, travel, like life, is imperfect. You have to go to a place to experience it, to understand the nuances, and to know the heart of a people. It upsets me when the media portrays one side of a situation, thereby hurting locals, and in this case, some of my dear friends.  So please listen to this episode with an open heart and an open mind.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
2/14/202444 minutes, 3 seconds
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Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania | Expert Panel: A Baltic Story of Freedom and Faith

Today we’re headed to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. While all three countries are different in culture and in language, what they share is having borne witness to the same history and the courage to protect their individual identities through centuries of tumult.  This is a fascinating region of the world to visit, not only because of the history, but because of the unspoiled coastlines and forests, charming traditions, and world class cities.  My guests today are Greg Tepper, our partner in the region, and Grigorijs Salnits, one of our top guides in Latvia. We chat about everything from the emotional history of the 20th century, to over the top festivals, to foraging for mushrooms.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
2/7/202457 minutes, 9 seconds
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Paris | Expert Panel: Hidden Gems, Storytelling, and Nostalgia

Today we’re indulging in fine cuisine, going behind the scenes of couture fashion houses like Chanel and Dior, and delving into some of the world’s most important traditions in art. Paris, the City of Light, has always been at the forefront of luxury, indulgence, and craftsmanship.  Joining me to chat on all things art, fashion, and history are my friends Leah Walker and Philippe Hertzberg, two of our partners for ultra-special experiences in Paris.   We discuss everything from art history, to the nostalgic periods of the Belle Epoch and the 20s, to fine jewelry houses and mixology.  Grab a flute of your finest champagne, and enjoy this Parisian episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
1/31/202458 minutes, 26 seconds
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Costa Rica | A Father & Daughter Perspective on Family Travel

We have a fun episode for you today, centered around Costa Rica and family travel. As one of our most popular destinations, we’re always working to find new and interesting ways to explore this beautiful country and to help families make lasting memories.  Joining me on this episode is my friend and partner in the region, Javier Echecopar. Javier also brought along his 15 year old daughter, Fiore, to give us a bit of perspective on life in Costa Rica for kids and teens and to share some of her favorite travel experiences.  We chat about everything from bioluminescence, to the best way to travel around the country, to some interesting ways to immerse in the local culture.  I hope you enjoy this fun episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
1/24/202451 minutes, 31 seconds
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The American West | Kevin Jackson

Today we’re headed deep into the American West to discover magical deserts, epic adventures, impossibly big skies, and wildlife you just can’t see anywhere else in the world. This is a land of contrasts - from the hottest desert, to the largest trees; from the longest canyon, to the world’s most epic super volcano. And aside from the natural wonders, we’ve got surfers, cowboys, Native Americans, and a melting pot of cultures in between.  My guest today is Kevin Jackson, our partner for ultra-luxury, special experiences across the western part of the US. If you can dream it up, we can plan it. Kevin and I chat about everything from mountaineering to visiting with a Navajo Code Talker, to private luxury camps set up in beautifully remote landscapes.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
1/17/202446 minutes, 46 seconds
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Luxury Survival Training | Expert Panel: Foraging, Fire, and Freedom (+ Insider Details from Alone UK)

Today we’re peeking into the world of survival travel - taking trips to learn important survival skills and putting them into practice in a real life setting. If you’ve ever been curious about truly getting back to nature,  this episode is for you!  My guests today are my friends Tom Williams and Roman Chiporukha. Tom started an experience company called Desert Island Survival and was the recent winner of the hit survival reality show, Alone UK. Roman has been a past guest of the show and works with clients to provide city focused survival experiences.  We discuss everything from the various survival skills, to the best foods to eat in the wild, to where to go to learn these types of skills. But perhaps the most important conversation was about how getting back to nature in this way provides a gratitude reset, allowing you to be more excited about and thankful for the things you do have in your life.  We started out chatting about survival, but end up having a deeper conversation about life, gratitude, and meaning.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
1/10/202452 minutes
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Seychelles | Tomas Cochrane: Island Hopping in the Garden of Eden

Today we’re whisking you off to a set of secluded islands in the Indian Ocean. This special place is so beautiful and remote, that it is often touted as the original Garden of Eden.  Joining me to chat all things Seychelles, is our partner in the region Tomas Cochrane.  Whether you’re looking for a far flung, relaxing, tropical paradise, or a more active adventure complete with interesting wildlife, hiking, and island hopping - the Seychelles really has something for almost everyone.  Tomas and I chat about the different personalities of the various islands, the history, pirate inspired treasure hunts, and of course some of the gorgeous hotels.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/3/202436 minutes, 28 seconds
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Besties Episode | Expert Panel: Luxury Travel Wrapped 2023

This week we’re up to something a little different. I invited three of my travel industry friends to join me in conversation about some of our favorite hotels of the year, some of our biggest travel pet peeves, and some of the lessons we hope our followers, clients, and guests will take home with them from their next trips.  Joining me today are Wendy Blandon, Hao Tang, and Simon Jones. All four of us are professional travelers, spending up to one third of the year out of the country. It’s also our jobs to be a little extra snobby as we evaluate destinations, experiences, and hotels for you.  In this unfiltered conversation you’ll hear our insider thoughts on everything from hotel amenities, to the best airport lounges, to butler service.  Before we dive in, I truly want to thank you for being a part of our community, for listening, for sending me your feedback, for working with Bell & Bly Travel for your luxury travel needs, and for letting me and our guests inspire you to travel the world. It is truly my honor.  Please enjoy this last episode of the year and I look forward to many more fun chats in 2024! Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
12/27/202355 minutes, 44 seconds
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Holiday Special | Expert Panel

Though we may celebrate some of the same holidays across regions and countries, we all do them so differently. Understanding those differences can help us to understand each other, it adds beauty to the season, and might even give you a new destination for your wishlist.  Chatting holiday traditions with me today are Cristina Consuegra, our partner in Colombia; Helmut Kugler, our partner in Germany, and Malik Fernando, the owner and MD of the Resplendent Ceylon properties in Sri Lanka!  Helmut makes us nostalgic with scenes of Christmas Markets, Malik takes us back to being children, and Cristina shares how the many different cultures in Colombia have shaped their traditions.  So my friends, I hope you have a joyous holiday season ahead, be safe, thank you, thank you for listening and for all your support, and please enjoy this festive episode of Luxury Travel Insider.      Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
12/20/202338 minutes, 13 seconds
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Virtuoso | CEO, Matthew Upchurch: The Future of Travel

Joining us today for the second time is Matthew Upchurch, one of the most influential people in the world of luxury travel, and the CEO of Virtuoso. Last time Matthew joined us, we had an insightful conversation about the history of travel, so this time around I thought we’d focus on the future of travel.  We delve into topics as diverse as AI, the impact of technology on trust, the richness of having friends around the world, intergenerational collaboration, and more.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
12/13/202357 minutes, 38 seconds
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Paris | Summer Games 2024: The World of Sport Comes to the City of Light

We’re taking another trip to Paris to learn more about the 2024 summer games, and about the history of the games in general.  Our guest is Dave Guenther, Founder & President of Roadtrips - my go to partner when planning luxury travel centered around sporting events. And the partner I am traveling with to the Summer Games in Paris next year as well.  As you can imagine, we are both THRILLED for next year and we chat all about the history of the Olympics, the new sporting events we’ll see in 2024, the fabulous setting that Paris will make for the games, and the hope that bringing people together from around the world inspires.  I hope you enjoy this fun episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
12/6/202336 minutes, 56 seconds
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Montenegro | One & Only Portonovi

Today we’re headed to Montenegro - where alpine mountains meet crystalline seas, where warmth and humor are still important, and where you can choose your own adventure between relaxing, exploring, or focusing on your health.  My guest today is Tessa Gorman, the Managing Director of the gorgeous One & Only Portonovi in Montenegro. I love this episode because we dive into what makes Montenegro such a juicy country to visit but also into some touching stories about guests and beautiful experiences.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
11/29/202338 minutes, 1 second
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Balearic Islands | Expert Panel

Today we’re headed to the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, and zeroing in on Mallorca. This magical island boasts quaint mountain towns, stunning beaches, and is quintessentially Mediterranean. Think olive oil from hundred year old trees, oranges blossoming all over the island, and of course wine and local specialties.  My guests today are Elena Florez, our partner in the region, and Rene Zimmer, the Managing Director of Cortesin Hotels and the brand new hot spot on the island, Grand Hotel Son Net.  We discuss everything from local cuisine, to architecture, to the modern melting pot that is Mallorca.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
11/22/202347 minutes, 27 seconds
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Halloween Special | Expert Panel

In honor of Halloween, today’s show is all about two of my favorite cities, witches, hauntings, druids and more.  My guests today are Lauren Tarantino and Russell Nash. Lauren’s family can directly trace its roots in the city of New Orleans back for 300 years, she’s also currently earning a masters in New Orleans history and is a ghost tour guide in the city. And Russell, who is a Londoner through and through, is one of the top guides in the city and uses his background in theater to make it all come to life.  We talk about everything from the pirates of New Orleans and the executions of London to the more everyday things like the cuisine and how best to experience these two world class cities.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
10/25/202344 minutes, 52 seconds
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Greenland | Expedition Leader, Colby Brokvist

Today we’re headed a bit off the beaten path, to the world’s largest island of Greenland. Though often called the land of ice and snow, in the summer you can find wildflowers, berries, beautiful fjords, and a robust local culture.  Whether you’re looking to escape the frenzy of cities and popular tourist destinations, have an interest in marine life, or are fascinated by having an authentic experience with Inuit culture - Greenland is for you.  Our guest today is Colby Brokvist, the lead Expedition Leader for Natural Habitat’s trips in Eastern Greenland. This part of the island is far less visited than the west, and Colby tells us how that makes for amazing natural experiences as well as cultural immersion.  We chat on everything from Viking escapades, to the food, to some incredible wildlife experiences.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
10/18/202348 minutes, 42 seconds
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Antarctica | White Desert: Meet The Guides

Today we’re heading down to the white continent of Antarctica. This vast land holds an extremely special place in my heart and this was my second trip to the continent. This time I visited by flying over from South Africa and staying at one of White Desert’s beautiful camps called Echo Camp.  I took along my recording equipment and am so glad I did because I think you’ll find the stories that follow quite inspirational. While my day to day was focused on mountaineering activities, what was most special about the trip was meeting the team and learning about the incredible amount of logistics that go into the camp and transporting scientists and dignitaries to and from Antarctica.  There’s something about being secluded with humans from around the world, in place that waves no flag. My guests today - Neil, Stuart, James, Sean, and Dumi share how months on end in Antarctica have inspired and changed them and tell stories of some incredible things they’ve experienced  I hope you enjoy this special episode of Luxury Travel Insider.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
10/11/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 14 seconds
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Mexico City | Expert Panel

Today we’re visiting a destination that could define the word paradox - where the city is monumental in size, but the people are still warm. Where modern art takes its cues from the fringes, while also honoring history. And the culinary scene… is recognized as one of the best in the world, yet many dishes are still prepared in the same ancient methods that they’ve always been.  Joining me today to chat about Mexico City are three special guests - Octavio Aguilar, a real estate developer and owner of the beautiful hotel Casa Polanco; Kit Hammond, the Chief Curator of the modern art museum Museo Jumex, and Tim McBride, an expert in planning itineraries in Mexico City and beyond.  The four of us chat about everything from Aztec canals, to Salvador Dali, to the quirkiness of the city, the food, the music, the passion, and more.  Grab a copita of your finest mescal, and enjoy this fun episode of Luxury Travel Insider.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
9/27/202349 minutes, 12 seconds
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Luxury Travel Insider | A Birthday Celebration

Welcome to a very special episode of Luxury Travel Insider! As we celebrate three incredible years of this podcast, we're ready to shake things up. In a nice twist, our host, Sarah Groen, is stepping into the guest spotlight for the day. Leading the interview are two of our most treasured guests from previous shows. Valentina De Santis, the visionary owner and CEO of Grand Hotel Tremezzo and Passalacqua in the Lake Como, one of the best hotels in Italy. And joining her is Fernando Polanco, the managing director and co-owner of Hacienda Zuleta, an exquisite estate nestled in mainland Ecuador. Oscar Alcantara, a travel designer at Bell & Bly Travel, is honored to guide you through today's show.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
9/20/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 7 seconds
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Laos | Expert Panel

Today we’re headed a bit off the beaten path, to Southeast Asia, and visiting the country of Lao. Lao or Laos means Land of a Million Elephants which is a symbol for prosperity - but the main draw to the country is the warm hospitality of its people.  Whether you’re visiting to see spectacular waterfalls and jungle scenery, learn about the history of this melting pot country, or simply immerse into the authentic culture - Lao is a place that captures hearts.  My guests today are Tara Gujadhur who runs the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center in Lao, Rachel O’Shea who founded the Laos Buffalo Dairy, and JB Richards our partner in the region and expert in all things Southeast Asia.  We chat about everything from the importance of preserving traditional crafts, to the process of making cheese from buffalo milk, to amazing experiences you can have getting to know the locals. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
9/6/202350 minutes, 54 seconds
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Jordan | Expert Panel

Today we’re headed to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Picture yourself looking over the Dead Sea at sunset, or visiting the Baptism site of Jesus, or bashing along in a 4x4 in the desert of Wadi Rum. Whether you’re in the mood for ancient history, religious sites, relaxation, or adventure - Jordan has it all.  I have two guests from Jordan joining me today, Mahmoud Salameh, an expert in planning itineraries through the region and Ali Harb, a fascinating guide with Bedouin roots.   We discuss everything from the rich cuisine of the country, to the Nabatean Empire, to some amazing experiences you can have while visiting.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/30/202338 minutes, 48 seconds
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Yachting 101 | Trish Cronan

Today we’re diving into the world of private yacht charters. Whether you’re taking 30 of your best friends on a mega yacht or just want a nice 4 cabin catamaran for your family in the British Virgin Islands - there is a yacht out there for you!  I grew up sailing and during Covid I took a course on yacht brokering, so we love planning this type of trip for our clients but there are still so many unknowns if you’ve never done a yacht charter so I wanted to have one of our partners join me today for a Yachting 101 session.  Trish Cronan and I discuss the feeling of freedom you get when enjoying a yacht charter, the many different destinations you can enjoy, the basics like cost and itinerary planning, and some fun stories from sea.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/23/202350 minutes, 23 seconds
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Santa Fe | The Inn of The Five Graces

Today we’re making our way to one of my favorite cities in the US, Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s a magical place that inspires creativity, slowing down, and taking a breath.  Joining me to chat all things Santa Fe are brothers Isaiah and Sharif Seret. The Seret family founded, owns, and runs The Inn of the Five Graces, often thought of as one of the best hotels in America. The Inn is so special and boutique, and the service so bespoke that it’s almost hard to refer to it as a hotel.  The brothers and I chat about the different eras in Santa Fe’s history, how a bohemian art scene set down roots here in the 60s and 70s, and about their fascinating family history that took them from New York, to pre-revolution era Afghanistan, to finding their true home in the high desert of New Mexico.   I truly love this little gem, and I hope you enjoy this interesting episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/9/202346 minutes, 23 seconds
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Brazil | Expert Panel: The Art and Soul of Enjoying Life

Today we’re visiting a country passionate about music, food, and enjoying life. While those passions are shared across the country, otherwise it is extremely diverse. The landscapes range from tropical beaches, to rainforest, to waterfalls, and more. The cities are huge and vibrant. The people are from cultural backgrounds as different as Japanese and African.  Joining me to chat all things Brazil are three experts in the region. Joe Sandillo, our partner in Brazil; Fabio Delantonia, a chef and expert in the culinary history of Brazil; and Micael Amarancci a passionate musician, cultural expert, and law and politics scholar.  The four of us chat about everything from the slave roots of Brazilian music, to understanding the history of the country through food, to the under-appreciated areas of Brazil that we think you should visit.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/2/202357 minutes, 18 seconds
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Saudi Arabia | Expert Panel: Challenging Stereotypes

Today we’re focusing on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It wasn’t so long ago that I thought I might never have the ability to visit this vast country on the Arabian Peninsula. But let me tell you, things have changed!  From stunning desert landscapes, to fascinating ancient history, to an absolutely stunning and untouched sliver of the Red Sea - Saudi Arabia has always had a lot to offer… you just couldn’t visit. Fast Forward to recent years and the Kingdom has thrown open its doors and invested billions into infrastructure, gorgeous hotels, amazing experiences blending traditional and modern culture, and more.  Joining me to talk about the changes are Melanie de Souza, the CMO of AlUla and Amina Farooq who is a local expert in planning itineraries throughout the country. We talk about everything from the changes in women’s rights to the new projects on the Red Sea, to the delicious cuisine.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/26/202356 minutes, 18 seconds
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Egypt | The Oberoi Zahra: Luxury Nile Cruiser

Today we’ll be floating down the Nile River in Egypt. Close your eyes for a second and just think about the power of this ancient river. Its physical power has shaped the landscape of the African continent, but its energy has shaped the entire course of human history.  One of the best ways to soak up the magnitude and importance of the Nile River Valley is to float down the river on a luxury cruiser.  My guest today is Shamden Tamang, the head of operations for Oberoi’s new ship on the Nile, the Oberoi Zahra. And if I may say so myself, one of the best options on the river. Shamden and I discuss everything from ancient history, to the world class food aboard the Zahra, to how the small details can make a big impact on your trip.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/19/202333 minutes, 13 seconds
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Greece | One&Only Aesthesis and One&Only Kea Island: A Preview

Today we’re headed to Greece - land of crystalline seas, fabulously fresh food, and the cradle of democracy.  My guests today are Yann Gillet and Jerome Colson, General Managers of the highly anticipated One&Only Aesthesis and One&Only Kea Island. I love this episode because we explore some lesser visited areas of Greece - the glamorous Athenian Riviera set 25 minutes from the city center and the northernmost island of the Cyclades.  Jumping straight into the heart and soul of Greek culture and these authentic destinations, Yann, Jerome and I discuss everything from why every day is a day to celebrate, to the quality of the tomatoes.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/12/202338 minutes, 7 seconds
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Space Tourism | SpaceVIP

Today we’re visiting the next frontier, looking up, and dreaming about what is possible for travel outside the confines of our amazing planet.  Roman Chiporukha, founder of SpaceVIP, joins me today to talk about space tourism and why this method of exploration is so important for our planet, our fellow humans, and ourselves.  We dive into the history and future of space tourism, what experiences are available to you right now, and how Roman is focused on bridging the gender and equality gaps in space.  This episode will help you understand the overview effect and how looking to space might be just what we need to come together back here on earth.  I hope you’ll enjoy this inspiring episode of Luxury Travel Insider.      Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/5/202341 minutes, 18 seconds
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New Zealand | Wharekauhau

Today we’re headed back to New Zealand to uncover a hidden gem in the Wellington region. This southernmost part of the North Island is known for its elegant villages, boutique wineries, rural farmlands.  My guest today is Richard Rooney, the GM of luxury lodge Wharekauhau. The lodge is set right on the banks of Palliser Bay and brings together all the elements of old New Zealand. The miles of rugged coastline and the working sheep farm will take you back to simpler times and remind you what’s good about life.  Richard and I talk about everything from unique wine tastings, to offroading adventures, to enjoying the amazing food right out of the sea.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/28/202329 minutes, 40 seconds
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Private Air Travel | Luxaviation UK

Today we’re talking about the glamorous world of private aviation - from the history of air travel since the 60s, to how the industry is focusing on sustainability, to the different uses of this type of air travel.  My guest today is George Galanopulos, the CEO of Luxaviation UK, an operator managing over 200 aircraft for all kinds of private air travel.  George tells personal stories of how he would pilot their first aircraft when the company was a startup, some crazy requests they’ve gotten from guests on board through the years, and some touching stories of how private air has helped families in need.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/21/202344 minutes, 19 seconds
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Tuscany | Lupaia

Today we’re jetting off to Tuscany - land of rolling green hills, Brunello di Montalcino, and of course those gorgeous hilltop towns that seem so sweetly frozen in time. Our journey takes us to a gorgeous farmstead spitting distance from Montepulciano to chat with friends, and the owners of the famed Lupaia boutique hotel.   Heidi and Christopher Mueller have been dreaming up their perfect spot in Italy for decades. After visiting over 60 properties in the surrounding regions they finally settled on this 17th century outcropping and transformed it into a truly magical place.  We chat about everything from the renaissance battles between Siena and Florence, to the local Tuscan cheeses, to how the couple hand picked every detail in Lupaia.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/14/202342 minutes, 11 seconds
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Kenya | The Safari Collection

On this episode we’re headed back to Kenya to chat with Mikey Carr Hartley, owner of The Safari Collection, which includes the Instagram famous Giraffe Manor. While you’ve undoubtedly seen beautiful images of the giraffes visiting guests at breakfast time, I want to be clear that The Safari Collection and its focus on conservation runs so much deeper than a photo op. Those friendly giraffe are part of a wider conservation movement and Mikey’s other lodges like Sala’s Camp and Sasaab are in equally beautiful settings dotted across the Kenyan landscape.  We go in depth to chat about the different regions of this fascinating country, the warmth and hospitality of the people, and even dive into some of the details of pangolin conservation. Get your gin & tonics out and join me for this fun episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/31/202349 minutes, 27 seconds
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Nicaragua | Expert Panel

Today we’re visiting a country that I think is truly under-appreciated. A tropical paradise dotted with volcanoes, this destination is easy to get to and boasts amazing wildlife, interesting culture, and lots of active adventures.  Joining me to chat all things Nicaragua are three experts in the region. Clark Kotula, who studied Nicaraguan politics and history and is also my partner in the region; Vera Bonilla from Rancho Santana on the Pacific Coast, and Adriana Beer from Yemaya Reefs on Little Corn Island in the Caribbean.  The four of us chat in depth about our love for this country, dispel some myths about the safety of visiting, and dive deep into the culture and amazing experiences like sandboarding, surfing, and climbing volcanoes.  I hope you enjoy this interesting episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/24/202347 minutes, 32 seconds
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France | Les Bateaux Belmond

Today we’re headed to France to learn about slowing down, enjoying life, and soaking it all in. Let’s jump on board a river barge to explore the back waterways of some of the most iconic regions of this beautiful country.  Our guide for the day is Jonathan Foschini who runs guest experience for Belmond Les Bateaux, the most luxurious barge experience in France.  Now whether we choose to float in Champagne, Burgundy, or Provence we’ll be treated to the finest wines, chef prepared meals, and custom experiences all the way. Jonathan and I discuss why this method of travel is so unique, dive into some very exclusive experiences, and chat about the benefits of slow travel.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/17/202346 minutes, 49 seconds
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Java | Amanjiwo

Today we're taking you on a journey to the mystical land of Java, in Indonesia. I’m joined by Jann Hess, the General Manager of Amanjiwo, who'll give us a glimpse into the breathtaking landscapes, cultural heritage, and spiritual energy of the island. Nestled in the heart of Central Java, Amanjiwo is surrounded by ancient temples, lush rice paddies, and beautiful mountains that all work together to invoke a sense of awe.  Jann and I discuss the complex history and culture of the island, spiritual experiences you can have while visiting, and of course the amazing Javanese cuisine.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy this captivating episode of Luxury Travel Insider.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/10/202343 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Amalfi Coast | Le Sirenuse

Today we’re whisking you off to the Amalfi Coast to soak up la dolce vita. This little corner of the world boasts colorful villages clinging to the cliffs, spectacular coastal views, gorgeously prepared local foods, and a sparkle that’s just hard to put into words.  Joining me today are father and son, my friends Antonio and Francesco Sersale. The Sersale’s own the iconic Positano hotel, Le Sirenuse. But more than that, I love that they are passionate about hospitality, family, and all the little details that take a trip from great to absolutely unforgettable.  We talk about everything from the development of the Amalfi Coast as a tourist destination, to the crazy parties thrown by their uncle Aldo, to soaking up the sun and learning how to enjoy life.  I know you’ll love this fun episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/3/202337 minutes, 22 seconds
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(Rerun) Awasi | Co-Founder, Matias de Cristóbal: Patagonia to Iguazu, Storytelling Through Food, and the Luxury of Time & Space

Today we’re discussing the icons of South America - Patagonia, The Atacama, and Iguazu - with one of the region’s most visionary leaders - Matias de Cristobal. I lead here by telling you about the places and the people before mentioning the hotel, because paraphrasing, Matias’, the focus should be on the experience that is brought to life by the surroundings and nurtured with the love of the people. Awasi is a collection of three small lodges, meant to blend into nature and invoke something inside you. Regardless of whether you’re set in the mountains, the desert, or the rainforest you’ll be treated to a private local guide, storytelling through local cuisine, and a handcrafted experience that only these destinations can provide. Matias shares a lot of wisdom in this episode, from his own journey to some lessons to live by. We also discuss the importance of “all local” - from handicrafts and design, to guiding, and food. And what the true definition of luxury is. Whether you’re envisioning yourself trekking Torres del Paine, seeing the salt flats in the Atacama, or wondering at the largest waterfalls in the world - I hope you enjoy this special episode with Matias de Cristobal.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/19/202344 minutes, 48 seconds
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Namibia | Tristan Cowley: Exploring the African Frontier

Today we’re heading back to Africa to spend some time in Namibia. If you don’t know much about Namibia - you’re about to be wowed. Whether it’s the massive sand dunes glowing in the sunset, the diversity of culture, or the uber unique wildlife that gets you - Namibia is sure to capture your heart.  My guest today is Tristan Cowley, a born and raised Namibian and owner of Ultimate Safaris. We speak in depth about everything from desert adapted elephants, to art galleries in Windhoek, to Namibia’s independence and freedom from apartheid.      Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
4/12/202337 minutes, 6 seconds
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Suffolk, England | Wilderness Reserve: The Simple Luxury of Stepping Back in Time

Today we’re heading to the county of Suffolk in Eastern England, otherwise known as the forgotten county. While not a lot of tourists visit this area, it is chock full of beautiful nature reserves and is known for historical ruins and quaint seaside towns.  My guest today is Harry Hunt, whose family owns a jewel of a property set on 8,000 acres of preserved nature. Wilderness Reserve is decidedly not a hotel, but rather a collection of historical buildings fully renovated into villas and homes that will invoke the countryside getaway of your dreams.  Harry and I talk about everything from fish and chips to gorgeous dinners set up in the forest, to how the family is focused on conserving the land through tourism.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
4/5/202330 minutes, 52 seconds
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Ecuador | Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen: Tourism for Good, Ancestral Gastronomy, and Biological Diversity

Today we have a special guest joining us, Niels Olsen, the Minister of Tourism of Ecuador - and one of (if not the) youngest tourism ministers to hold the position on the globe.  Ecuador holds a special place in my heart. Though the people are so warm, and it is one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet, the country is often overlooked for its neighbors like Peru or Chile.  Niels and I are hoping to change that today. He tells us the incredible story of how he became Minister, what he’s trying to do differently, and why Ecuador should be at the top of your list. We cover everything from penguins, to ancestral gastronomy, to backpacking - and I think you’ll find Niels’ ideas refreshing and fun.      Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/29/202338 minutes, 11 seconds
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Aerial BVI | Britnie Turner: A Life Changing Private Island

I’m excited today to be speaking with renaissance woman and extremely successful entrepreneur, Britnie Turner. Britnie realized her calling for giving back at a young age and decided her path forward was in building triple bottom line businesses. One of Britnie’s newest ventures is Aerial Private Island in the British Virgin Islands. A true paradise, Aerial is a place you can get away, focus on discovering your life’s purpose, and reset your wellness. You might find yourself kissing a zebra, kiteboarding, or enjoying the company of guests who are setting out to change the world.  Britnie and I talk about everything from manifesting, to Sir Richard Branson, to how her island has already begun to change lives.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/22/202339 minutes, 18 seconds
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Dolomite Mountains | Agustina Lagos Marmol: Climbing, Culture, and Cuisine

Today we’re heading to the far north of Italy to the Dolomites and Lake Garda. This magical region is full of craggy spires, sheer cliff faces, verdant valleys, and gorgeous lakes. No wonder it’s recognized by UNESCO, will be the home of the next Winter Olympics, and inspires travelers from around the world.  My guest today is my partner in the region, Agustina Lagos Marmol. Before starting her company, Agustina was an intrepid mountain guide - taking guests climbing all over the world. Her love for the Dolomites in particular always kept her coming back and she’s now cycled, hiked, or skied almost every inch of the region.  We discuss everything from the ancient Ladin culture, to World War I history, to incredible mountain adventures finished off with gourmet meals and fabulous wine. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/15/202344 minutes, 14 seconds
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West Africa | Expert Panel: Rituals, Traditions, and Stories from Togo, Ghana, and Benin

We’re shaking it up today with a panel of experts from a very interesting region of the world, southern West Africa. Together we’ll explore the countries of Ghana, Benin, and Togo, learn more about the religion of voodoo, and understand how a truly authentic experience can transform your way of thinking.  Our guests today are Alberto Nicheli, Founder of the travel company TransAfrica, Cedi Jaba, one of the preeminent bead makers in all of Africa, and Egbatao Djato, a top guide in the region and educated scholar on both Western and West African cultures.  What I love about this episode is how passionate all three are about the region and about sharing their experiences with visitors.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/8/202349 minutes, 50 seconds
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English Countryside | Expert Panel: Dreamy Landscapes, Active Adventures, and Ancient Cultures

Today we’re whisking you away to the English Countryside. Specifically The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. This region is home to the highest peaks and the deepest lakes, yet it remains a well kept secret that I think more people should visit.  In the words local poet of William Wordsworth, “You may leave the Lake District, but once you’ve been, it’ll never leave you.”  My guests today are Matt Loveland and Ben Walker who are avid outdoor enthusiasts, fantastic guides, and partners of mine working with Wilderness England. We talk about everything from the famed Coast to Coast hike, to sailing the British Isles, to the local heritage and culture of this region.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/1/202334 minutes, 33 seconds
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Japan | Expert Panel

We’re shaking it up today with a panel of local experts from Japan! Together we’ll explore the bustling capital of Tokyo, learn about Shugendo and the Yamabushi monks, and dive deep into the cuisine of this fascinating country.  Our guests today are: Wataru Takahashi, CEO of Wondertrunk, our partner in the region. Marc Matsumoto, an author, TV Personality, and Japanese cuisine expert, and Takeharu Kato, a Yamabushi Monk who is dedicated to promoting his culture in a way that can help people around the world.  What I love about this episode is hearing each of these experts speak about their passions and seeing how similar threads in Japanese culture continue to arise. Whether it be patience and expertise in all arenas, or a focus on beauty, or a simple mantra to stay in the present - it’s a portrait that will certainly make you want to uncover all that is Japan.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Cozy Earth.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
2/22/202348 minutes, 24 seconds
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Mongolia | Undraa Buyannemekh

Today we’re discussing the country of Mongolia, and all the riches it has to offer. This is a place where “the big picture gets bigger.” The home of snow leopards, wild horses, the hypnotic dunes of the silk road, and of course the warm hospitality of the Mongolian people.  My guest today is my partner in the region, Undraa Buyannemekh. Her passion for bringing the experience of Mongolia to life is contagious. We discuss everything from misconceptions about the country, to differing concepts of wealth across the world, to creating experiences that can broaden your perspective.  Whether you’ve been to Mongolia or you’re just curious about it, this episode is sure to teach you something new.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Cozy Earth.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
2/15/202343 minutes, 37 seconds
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Washington DC | The Hay-Adams

Today we are visiting the Capitol of the United States, Washington DC! The city is our government’s seat of power, yes, but it is also so much more. This is a place where history is palpable. Where great ideas became great institutions. And despite what might be boiling in the outside world, here, you can still find a sense of hope.  I’m chatting today with Nicolas Beliard, the General Manager of The Hay-Adams. The property sits literally… right next to the White House and its location is famous for having been a hub of intellectual activity for more than 100 years.  Nicolas and I talk about everything from great spots to get out and go hiking, to the best museums, to The Hay-Adams’ history and famous past guests.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Cozy Earth. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/8/202337 minutes, 9 seconds
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Botswana | Wilderness Destinations: Expert Panel

Today we’re heading to the magical country of Botswana. It’s a dream world where you very might well come across a gorgeous sunset, framed by a rainbow, arching over two baby leopards. Sounds fantastical, but I have actually seen it. The other things you can see in Botswana like the Eden that is Chobe and encountering San Bushmen in the Kalahari are also sure to blow you away.  My guests today are an amazing panel of safari and Botswana experts. We have Attorney Vasco who grew up on a farm outside of Maun and is now the head guiding manager for Wilderness Safaris in Botswana, Craig Glatthaar who has spent countless years in the bush and helps market all of Wilderness’ projects to North America, and Vince Shacks who is a true expert in conservation.  We talk in depth about what makes Botswana special, how Wilderness Destinations is set up perfectly to showcase this country, and the group tells some fantastic stories of wildlife and crazy encounters.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Cozy Earth.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/1/202354 minutes, 38 seconds
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Italy | Fulvio De Bonis: Falling in Love with Travel Through Art

Today we’re talking about the intersection of art and travel. Understanding the art of a country, whether that be renaissance paintings, local craftsmanship, or even beautifully presented food - is a way to truly uncover the soul of a people. To paraphrase Chuck Klosterman, art and love are really the same thing: they’re about recognizing and appreciating yourself in others.   My guest today is my friend Fulvio De Bonis. Fulvio is an art historian, guide, and owner of one of the top luxury travel companies in Italy. We chat about his childhood in Rome, his philosophy that all of life is art, and some insanely special travel experiences that can get even the non-art lover excited about the subject.  Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/25/202329 minutes, 53 seconds
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Wyoming | Reid Creek Lodge: A Working Ranch, Authentic Experiences, and Oregon Trail History

My guest today is Andrea Nicholas Perdue, CEO of Wagonhound Holdings and the visionary behind Reid Creek Lodge in Southeast Wyoming.  If you’re a fan of the show Yellowstone, Reid Creek Lodge is the stuff of your dreams. Nestled against a mountain range, far from the grip of your technological worries, this is a place where you can truly get back to what’s important. Camp out with your family, spend time with ranch hands caring for the horses, or just learn what it means to play, slow down, and enjoy.   Andrea and I discuss everything from what goes into managing a working ranch, to some fun Oregon Trail history, to how true hospitality is the new definition of luxury. Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/18/202341 minutes, 43 seconds
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St. Barths | Eden Rock: Old World Glamour in The Caribbean

Today we’re headed to the magical island of St. Barths. While enjoying vibrant turquoise seas, beautiful hikes in the mountains, and powdery white sand may feel very Caribbean, there’s another undercurrent at play here. The vibe is decidedly French, and the world class food, shopping, and nightlife blends gorgeously with the island's Caribbean roots.  My guest today is Fabrice Moizan, GM of the famous Eden Rock Hotel in St. Barths. Fabrice is himself French but has lived on the island for almost a decade. We talk about the blended roots of St. Barths, the feeling you get when you step into Eden Rock, and all that this little island has to offer.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/11/202337 minutes, 19 seconds
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India | Mahesh Natarajan: Physical & Emotional Transformation in The Himalayas

Today we are visiting the Himalayan region of India, birthplace of Yoga and Ayurveda, and famed location of the ashrams visited by The Beatles and in Eat Pray Love.  My guest today is Mahesh Natarajan, the COO of Ananda, a destination spa resort set in the foothills of the Himalayas. Ananda is one of those rare places where you can experience both total physical and spiritual transformation while enjoying a luxurious setting.  In addition to deep wellness and spa experiences, Ananda is also a great jumping off spot to explore the region. Mahesh and I chat about everything from the core principles of Ayurveda to art, and local culture.  Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/4/202346 minutes, 49 seconds
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(Rerun) Alaska | Owner Kirsten Dixon, Winterlake Lodge, Tutka Bay Lodge: Sustainability, Alaskan Cuisine, and Enjoying the Bright & Shiny Parts of Life

Today’s show is about Alaska and two of it’s top luxury lodges, Winterlake and Tutka Bay Lodge. But it’s also about so much more! Our guest is owner and chef, Kirsten Dixon and after our recording I was asking her to be my mentor!  Alaska is a destination that captures the imaginations of people from all over the world. It’s pristine beauty and rugged wilderness have so much to teach us. Travel has always been near and dear to my heart because it helps us to feel small, to realize how wide the world is around us - and Alaska is the perfect place to experience this.  Kirsten reminds us all to drink up the bright and shiny parts of life and shares her experiences of Alaska with us. We discuss everything from wildlife and helicopter adventures, to story telling with shots of vodka, to cooking with your heart and soul.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/28/202245 minutes, 7 seconds
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Holiday Special | Holiday Traditions from Italy, Scotland, and Israel

Though we may celebrate some of the same holidays across regions and countries, we all do them so differently. Understanding those differences can help us to understand each other, it adds beauty to the season, and might even give you a new destination for your wishlist.  Chatting holiday traditions with me today are Stevie Christie, of Wilderness Group in Scotland, Fulvio De Bonis CEO of Imago Artis in Italy, and Alon Siedner, CEO of Travex in Israel.  Fulvio takes us back to his childhood in Italy, Alon explains the cultural and historical context of Hanukkah in Israel, and Stevie takes us on a wild ride for Hogmanay, the New Years Eve celebration in Scotland.  What you’ll learn from this episode… is there are no strangers in the world, only friends you haven’t met yet.  So my friends, I hope you have a joyous holiday season ahead, be safe, thank you for listening!   Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/21/202233 minutes, 29 seconds
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(Rerun) Iceland | Owner, Iceland Encounter, Erling Aspelund: Secret Hikes, Stunning Landscapes, and How Iceland Will Recover Quickly Post Covid

Today we’re chatting about one of my favorite countries for active travelers, Iceland! While luxury in other countries may mean five star hotels and spas, true luxury in this corner of the world looks more like private guides inviting you into their homes, having parts of the other-worldly landscape all to yourself, horseback riding to a private picnic near a waterfall, or helicoptering up to hike on a glacier. Our guest today is Erling Aspelund, Owner of Iceland Encounter. After many years working in the corporate world in the US, Erling and his family traveled home to pursue their passion for travel and design a better Icelandic travel experience. Today Iceland Encounter is probably the top luxury travel company in Iceland. Erling and I discuss secret hikes, the fabulous landscapes and wow moments he’s created for travelers. We also touch on how the Icelandic culture lends itself to working together, and how that will help the country recover quickly post-Covid. Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/14/202229 minutes
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Rome | Villa Spalletti Trivelli: History, Intrigue, and Count Andrea Spalletti’s Top Spots in Rome

Today we’re discussing the Eternal City of Rome. Of all the places in the world that I’ve been, this city holds a special place in my heart. It’s more than just a gorgeous open air museum. It has a heart and soul to it, created by thousands of years of messy yet beautiful human history.  We also have a very special guest with us today, my friend Andrea Spalletti who owns and runs Villa Spalletti Trivelli in the heart of the city. The Villa is Andrea’s family home, built in the late 1800s and as we talk a bit about it, you’ll come understand Roman and Italian history in a new light.  Andrea and I chat on everything from Italian wines, to hidden archeological ruins in the city, to up and coming neighborhoods that still feel Roman.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/7/202252 minutes, 51 seconds
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Brush Creek Ranch | COO, Michael Williams: The Spirit of the American West and the Wyoming Dude Ranch

Our guest today is Michael Williams, COO of Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming. Brush Creek is a working ranch with hundreds of years of history and 30,000 acres of stunning forest, rivers, grasslands, and mountains. This is the ultimate playground for all kinds of travelers - from first time visitors who have never seen a horse, to experienced ranch hands. From huge family gatherings to intimate honeymoons. When you visit Brush Creek, the outside world melts away so you can get back to nature, learn something new, and connect with those around you. Michael and I discuss what goes on behind the scenes of a huge operation like Brush Creek, some very special stories from past guests, and what makes the old west the perfect place to experience true hospitality.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/30/202229 minutes, 26 seconds
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(Rerun) Uniworld | CEO, Ellen Bettridge: A Floating Boutique Hotel, Lifelong Friendships, and Bucket List Destinations

Our guest today is Ellen Bettridge, President and Global CEO of Uniworld River Cruises. Uniworld has 1200 employees and 21 ships and counting - and it’s also the first cruise line to be featured on our show.  But In my opinion, sailing with Uniworld is more like being in a floating boutique hotel than being on a cruise line. While the average ocean cruise takes 5,000 passengers - Uniworld ships clock in at about 120!  After you unpack and relax into one of the finest made beds in the world, you can watch the world by by from the top deck with a drink in hand, have a chef prepared dinner of locally sourced food and plan for the next day. Depending on where you’re sailing your choices will range from hiking and biking, to private history or museum tours, to wine tasting with a wine maker and more.  Ellen herself is a truly involved leader - though she’s held top exec positions across the cruise industry, she told me off air that she still keeps letters from guests in her desk and sails with repeat customers every year.  We discuss everything from the private art collection on board each ship, to new destinations, to the lemon chicken recipe that is Ellen’s favorite. If you’ve ever been curious about river cruising - you’ll love hearing all this detail.   Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/23/202231 minutes, 28 seconds
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Virgin Galactic | President (Commercial), Blair Rich: The Transformative Experience of Space Travel

On today’s show we’re not visiting a particular hotel, city, or even country. We’re looking up. Up, past the layers of our atmosphere and in - to space. While space has historically been reserved for elite astronauts, we have now reached the age where this dream can become reality for more and more people. My guest today is Blair Rich, President and Chief Business Officer of the commercial side of Virgin Galactic. The company is the world’s first commercial spaceline dedicated to the mission of Space for All.  If you’ve never heard of the Overview Effect, I hope this episode will help you understand why getting more and more people to space can have a profound impact on our world. Most astronauts report being forever changed and seeing the world as a borderless planet where earthly conflicts seem pointless.  Blair and I discuss why space travel is so important, what your experience as an astronaut with Virgin Galactic will be like, the amazing events and community you’ll get to be a part of, and some fun stories about the company and of course Richard Branson. Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
11/16/202246 minutes, 15 seconds
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South Africa | Singita: Meet the Guides

This time we’re heading to the Sabi Sands and Kruger in South Africa for the safari of a lifetime! In the Kruger area, I saw more prides of lion than I ever have anywhere else, and in the Sabi Sands had ultra-close up encounters with leopard.  On this trip, I also visited all of Singita’s South Africa lodges, including Ebony Lodge, Boulders, Lebombo, and Sweni. I reveled in my private plunge pool, was stunned by the decor and gorgeous pops of color, thoroughly enjoyed the strong cocktails, and of course stood inspired by Singita’s amazing guides and team members.  Since I’m in the field for this episode vs. sitting in the studio, you’ll hear some of the sounds of an actual game drive and enjoy conversations with one of our extremely accomplished wildlife guides, the cooking school chef, and Singita’s K9 anti-poaching expert.  We discuss so much in this episode from crazy wildlife stories, to Nelson Mandela, to becoming one of Africa’s first female guides, to giving back to the community. I hope you enjoy this very special episode of Luxury Travel Insider.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/9/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 52 seconds
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Nepal | Sangita Einhaus Shrestha: Dwarika’s, Where Guests are Gods

Today we visit the magical country of Nepal. Known for soaring mountain peaks, gorgeous valleys, and the warmth of its people, Nepal is a country that captures hearts and minds like no other.  My guest today is Sangita Shrestha, owner of Dwarika’s Hotel and Dwarika’s Resort, properties that have a deep purpose and mission to preserve Nepal’s cultural heritage.  Sangita and I chat about Nepali hospitality, her work with children after the earthquake, and some fantastic experiences for guests.    Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, Covac Global. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/2/202235 minutes, 55 seconds
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Ghost City Tours | CEO, Tim Nealon: Experiencing History & Culture Through Ghost Stories

In honor of Halloween, today’s show is all about ghosts and the paranormal!  My guest is Tim Nealon, Founder and CEO of Ghost City Tours, the largest ghost tour company in the world. In addition to entertaining hundreds of thousands of visitors on his ghost tours, Tim is an expert ghost hunter, cryptozoologist, software designer, and reptile conservationist.  We talk about everything from theories on ghosts, to the Loch Ness monster, to why ghost tours are amazing experiences even for non-believers.      Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/26/202240 minutes, 22 seconds
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Wendy Perrin | Travel Trends & Tips From One of the World’s Top Travel Writers

I’m so thrilled today to be speaking with travel writer and guru, Wendy Perrin. Wendy first came on the show a year ago, so I wanted to have her back to talk about updated trends, advice for parents traveling with kids, some of her personal favorites, and more.  If you haven’t heard of Wendy, she had an illustrious 25 year career at Conde Nast Traveler, is a published author, and runs WendyPerrin.com. She is renowned for her encyclopedic knowledge of travel and of course willingness to share.  I think you’ll find our chat refreshing, inspiring, and most importantly… fun! Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/19/202254 minutes, 1 second
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Red Carnation Hotel Group | Jonathan Raggett: Personal Stories and Making Travel Matter

Today we’re transporting ourselves to the world of Red Carnation Hotels. If you haven’t heard of this hotel group, it’s probably because each of their properties is so unique and special that they don’t carry a brand name. Iconic spots come to mind like Ashford Castle and The Egerton House, which offer ultra personalized service with a family atmosphere.  My guest today is Jonathan Raggett, Managing Director of the entire collection. Jonathan and his team are focused on every little detail at these boutique hotels. We cover how they’re picky about which local purveyors provide everything from the smoked salmon to the soaps. We also dive into their philosophy of “Make Travel Matter” and small ways in which your travel dollars can support local communities while giving you a truly authentic experience.  Jonathan’s passion for these beautiful, quirky, and globally inspired hotels shines throughout our conversation. I hope you take away some travel inspiration from this episode of Luxury Travel Insider.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/12/202240 minutes, 12 seconds
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Dubai | Expert Panel: A Land Where Dreams Become Reality

Today we’re visiting Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. We’ll explore the bustling city, the desert landscape, the incredible man-made achievements, and the melting pot culture.  Our guests today are Emanuela Setterberg, GM of one of our favorite hotels in Dubai, One & Only The Palm and Tom Roelens, GM of the soon to open and highly anticipated, Atlantis The Royal.  While the properties are just 5 kilometers apart, they are worlds away from each other in terms of experience. From the calm oasis environment of The Palm to the glitz and glamor of The Royal. But… it’s what they have in common that is so special - the true heart of Emirati hospitality is on display.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/5/202248 minutes, 50 seconds
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andBeyond | CEO, Joss Kent: Building Human & Wildlife Connections in Africa and Beyond

I’m thrilled to take you on a journey today over to Africa, and to bits of Asia and South America too. But the core of our conversation will be about the fine balancing act between land, people, and wildlife.  Joss Kent, the CEO of andBeyond and former CEO of Abercrombie & Kent joins me today to explain how the three of these elements can and do work in concert to truly make the world a better place.  We discuss everything from pangolin conservation, to extreme encounters with wildlife, to what it takes to become a guide, and Joss’ stance on sustainability.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/28/202255 minutes, 51 seconds
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Argentina | Maita Barrenechea: From Buenos Aires to The End of the World

Today we’re diving into the special country of Argentina. Spanning from the tropics all the way down to Antarctica - this magical landscape has something for everyone. Here you can hike some of the tallest mountains in the world, learn and dance tango with locals, cheer on the Argentinian soccer team, and sip some of the finest wines in our hemisphere.  My guest today is the very accomplished Maita Barrenechea, Argentinian entrepreneur and philanthropist, and my partner in the county.  We talk about everything from fly fishing and glaciers, to cowboy culture and steak.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/21/202240 minutes, 35 seconds
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A Birthday Episode | Luxury Travel Insider: Celebrating Our Second Anniversary!

I started working on the concept for Luxury Travel Insider in May 2020… right about when my business Bell & Bly Travel was falling apart due to Covid. It was a completely devastating time for our industry.  My team and I spent our days unraveling trips we had worked so hard to plan and our clients had been so highly anticipating. My friends, hoteliers and destination experts, were closing their doors without knowing if they’d ever open them again.  With some free time on my hands, I couldn’t just sit and wait. I had to feel I was doing something to help my travel industry family. I had always wanted to tell travelers about the insider stories that I am so privileged to hear every day… but I wasn’t quite sure how. Being a podcast lover and needing a project to keep my mind occupied, I decided to give it a shot. I read a quote one day that said, “you have to be willing to be bad at something in order to get good at it.” So I held that up as my mantra and I dove in.  Guests on the show were all too happy to have an excuse to talk about their love of travel and destination instead of belaboring the issues facing us all from Covid.  The show took off, and we started to have guests asking us if they could appear on the show.  Today we are the top podcast on luxury travel and I honestly could never have anticipated this. In listening back to the nearly 150 episodes I cried, I got goosebumps, and I laughed.  In today’s episode I’m compiling for you some of our favorite moments from the show. Bits that inspire me, remind me that humans are truly good, and showcase the fact that travel makes the world a better place.  I hope you enjoy this anniversary episode of Luxury Travel Insider. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/14/202251 minutes, 44 seconds
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Four Seasons | Ben Trodd: Personalized Luxury, Private Jet Trips, and Building Communities

My guest today is Ben Trodd, an SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at the amazing Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. While you may have heard of these gorgeous properties dotted around the world, what you might not know is that founder Isadore Sharp started off by building a motel in Toronto. Mr. Sharp says something profound about the company that we discuss in this episode. He says, “There was no vision, there was no grand dream – but there has always been a consistent thread, and that is service.” So while Four Seasons Hotels are now set in gorgeous locations and high design buildings, the only way to describe the brand is that it’s more of a feeling.. The consistent service, the ability to be yourself… that keeps many of its loyal guests (myself included) coming back for more.  Ben and I discuss amazing locations around the world, the Four Seasons Private Jet experience, how they’re using technology to drive service, and more.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/7/202247 minutes, 1 second
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Vienna & Prague | Expert Panel: The Fairytale Cities of Europe

I’m excited to whisk you off today to two of my favorite cities in Europe, Prague and Vienna. I think the travel world sometimes forgets that Vienna was once the center of European power, while its sister to the north is the birthplace of bohemian culture.  To paraphrase Karl Kraus, while the streets of other cities are paved with asphalt, the streets of these two cities are quite literally paved with culture.  Here to discuss Vienna and Prague with us are Gwen Kozlowski, my partner in the region, and Kamila Karen, one of the top local guides in all of Prague.  Both Gwen and Kamilla tell tear-inducing stories of families during the war, share wistful images of coffee shops and pubs, and truly impart a sense of what it’s like to visit this part of the world.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/31/202240 minutes, 6 seconds
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Passalacqua | Owner, Valentina De Santis: The Crown Jewel of Lake Como

We have a very special guest joining us today, our first repeat guest on the show, in fact! You may remember Valentina de Santis who joined us to discuss her famed hotel Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como.  Well she’s back! And this time to tell us about the jewel box of a hotel that she just finished building called Passalacqua. This revival of an 18th century villa, might be one of the most stunning properties I’ve ever had the luxury of staying in. And on top of that, the family owned atmosphere, relaxed vibe, and local community truly bring to life the concept of dolce far niente. Valentina and I chat about everything from the insane amount of Murano glass adorning the hotel, to the Italian craftsmen that designed every tiny bit, to the local gelateria owner who moved to the village for love. You’ll also get a smattering of celebrities, famous opera composers, and of course all of Valentina’s charm.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/24/202250 minutes, 13 seconds
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Peru | Silvia Rico: PachaMama, Indelible Experiences, and a Layer Cake of Cultures

Today we’re discussing the country of Peru, and all the riches it has to offer. While many people think of Peru synonymously with Machu Picchu, the country is twice the size of Texas and has so much more to offer.  After exploring the incredible culture of the Incas and modern day Peruvians living in the Andes, you can also visit the Amazon, enjoy some of the top restaurants in the world, and learn about any of the other FIFTY indegenous groups dotted across the country.  My guest today is my partner in the region, Silvia Rico. Her passion for bringing the experience of Peru to life is contagious. Silvia and I discuss everything from Ayahuasca, to a full out party on the Inca Trail, to the humility that visiting a place like Peru can instill in you.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/17/202238 minutes, 2 seconds
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Hospitality Expert | Chris Adams: Designing the User Experience of Luxury

Today’s show is about hospitality, the great change that is underway at hotels, and how Covid and generational shifts are changing what it means to be luxury.  My guest today is the CEO and Founder of Ellis Adams Group, a consulting firm specializing in helping luxury hotel brands design jaw dropping customer experiences, build memorable hotel spaces, and keep up with new trends.  Chris tells personal stories of his time working in hotels and crazy experiences helping new hotels open. We also dive into everything from QR codes, to the Ladies & Gentlemen of the Ritz Carlton, to pink elephants.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/10/202240 minutes, 12 seconds
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Cuba | David Lee: Experiences Transcending Politics

Ernest Hemingway once said, “In order to write about life, first you must live it.” And as we all know, he went to live his life in the vibrant country of Cuba.  Now, Cuba has both dramatically changed and stayed the same since Hemingway departed in 1960, but nonetheless it still offers one of the best travel experiences in the world. Here you can combine authentic interactions with locals, great food, beautiful beaches, and of course all the rum and cigars you can stomach.  Joining me today is the always intriguing David Lee, Owner and Founder of Cultural Cuba, our partner in the country. David and I chat about everything from the politics and legalities of entering Cuba to grabbing a bite with a local Cuban entrepreneur, and all the amazing experiences in between.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/3/202247 minutes, 38 seconds
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Explora Journeys | CEO, Michael Ungerer: An Ocean State of Mind

Our guest today is Michael Ungerer, the CEO of Explora Journeys, one of the best known travel companies that has yet to formally launch!  If you haven’t heard of Explora yet, you soon will. They are pioneering a new niche in ocean going travel, so much so that they don’t actually refer to it as cruising. The family owned company has started from scratch, learning from tens of thousands of next generation luxury travelers what they might want in a mega-yacht experience.  Explora Journeys launches in 2023 with Explora I, where you can expect a focus on health and wellness, truly immersive experiences, anchoring near off the beaten path destinations, and the largest suites in the industry.  Michael talks to us about the vision for the company, some fun tidbits of what it’s been like to grow a new luxury brand during Covid, and a few insider hints at what to expect next.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/27/202234 minutes, 20 seconds
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Luxury Living | Darcy Guttwein: Bringing Five Star Luxury Into Your Home

Today we’re mixing things up a bit to hear how you can bring the luxury hotel experience into your own home.  Darcy Guttwein has spent two decades building a lifestyle concept she calls Hotels to Home. She’s traveled the world taking inspiration from luxury hospitality brands and figured out a way to incorporate many of the aspects that you love about traveling into the everyday.  Darcy and I discuss simple and affordable “hacks” to creating this lifestyle, all the way to elaborate and elegant changes that can be made to the home.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
7/20/202237 minutes, 17 seconds
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Digital Nomading | Expert Panel: Continuous Travel, Discovering the World, and Tips for Working Remotely

I’m so excited today to be speaking with two amazing travel and remote work experts, Matt Kepnes and Dan Andrews. Matt is the founder of the successful blog, Nomadic Matt and is a New York Times bestselling author of two books. Dan hosts the successful podcast, Tropical MBA, co-founded Dynamite Circle to connect and empower digital entrepreneurs, and also founded Dynamite Jobs.  Both of our guests have spent years as digital nomads. This episode is a bit of a departure from our typical shows but I think it holds some golden lessons and amazing insights for us all.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/13/202243 minutes, 24 seconds
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Singita | Meet the Guides: Zimbabwe

This time I’m taking you to Singita’s Pamushana Lodge in remote, Southeast Zimbabwe. Perched high on a sandstone ridge, overlooking a shimmering lake full of hippos, this is one of the most inspirational safari destinations I have ever had the privilege of visiting.  The lodge is set on the Malilangwe Reserve which is now famous for its rhino and ecological conservation efforts, its absolutely awe inspiring anti-poaching team, and of course the world class service of Singita.  Since I’m in the field for this episode vs. sitting in the studio, you’ll hear some of the sounds of an actual game drive, and enjoy an authentic conversation with our accomplished guide Tengue and the Lodge Manager, Valerie. Both are local Zimbabweans and I was truly honored to spend this time with them.  We discuss so much in this episode from the area’s spectacular growth in rhino population, to specialty cocktails, to hyper-inflation, to Zimbabwean culture. I hope you’ll enjoy this exciting episode of Luxury Travel Insider.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/6/202239 minutes, 34 seconds
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(Rerun) Resplendent Ceylon | Owner, Malik Fernando: 50 Shades of Green, Sri Lanka's Stunning Diversity, and An Accidental Hotelier

Our guest today is Malik Fernando, Founder and Managing Director of Resplendent Ceylon, a collection of luxury boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. It’s hard to even call Malik’s properties hotels. They’re more like beautiful places to rest your head wrapped into a full on experience of living life and diving into Sri Lankan culture. From the palm fringed shores of Cape Weligama, to relaxing on a working tea plantation in the mountains, to being on safari at Wild Coast Tented Lodge - you can’t get more immersed than this. Malik’s father is a famous figure in Sri Lanka, having founded Dilmah Tea which is exported to over 100 countries around the world. When Sri Lanka opened up to tourism, Malik noticed an increasing number of tea drinkers reaching out to ask to come visit… so he renovated some bungalows and invited them to come along. Today his 3, and soon to be 4 hotels are the top luxury options in the country. Malik and I discuss why Sri Lanka is such an underrated destination. He also tells insider stories about the building of the lodges, their passion for community development, and why true luxury is about feeling pampered AND being immersed in the local culture. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/29/202232 minutes, 33 seconds
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Kempinski | The Ladies In Red: Proposals, Parrots, and Curating Lifelong Memories

Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/22/202235 minutes, 23 seconds
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Vietnam | Expert Panel: A Story of Resilience, Glorious Food, and 50 Million Motorbikes

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6/15/202252 minutes, 41 seconds
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Auberge Resorts & Hotels | CEO Craig Reid: Creating Memories Through Hospitality

Today we’re diving into the world of Auberge Resorts with CEO Craig Reid. Whether you are skiing in Aspen, horseback riding in Costa Rica, or harvesting mushrooms with the chef before dinner - Auberge delivers an experience based kind of luxury that’s hard to find anywhere else. Craig had a long career at some of the most storied brands in luxury travel. In talking to him, you can sense that coming to Auberge was like coming home to what he feels is the heart of hospitality - simple every day pleasures, luxury in the form of thoughtful gestures, and cultivating meaningful experiences for guests.   Craig and I chat about off the beaten path destinations, historical landmarks, Bob Hope, and much more!  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/8/202246 minutes, 16 seconds
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Israel Reopens! | Rerun: A Country of Contrasts, The Meaning of Kabbalah, and the Dazzling City of Tel Aviv

Today we’re diving into the paradox that is the country of Israel. In such a small nation you can be surrounded by tech entrepreneurs, holy men and women from multiple faiths, geopolitical conflict, world class nightlife, and natural wonders like the Dead Sea AND the Mediterranean Sea.  To try to unravel some of this beautiful complexity, we have three guests on our show today. My friend and partner in the region, Yoav Gal - an expert in luxury Israel itineraries; Eyal Riess - a Rabbi in the mystical Jewish tradition of Kabbalah, and Libbi Cohen- an expert in Tel Avivian history, culture, and nightlife.  We discuss everything from Israel’s new cultural revolution, to spiritual experiences in caves, to Bauhaus architecture - and of course hummus!  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
6/1/202253 minutes, 43 seconds
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Ireland | Crothúr Murphy

Today I’m whisking you away to experience the greenest of countryside, the freshest of salt air, and the purest heart of hospitality. A visit to Ireland will give you all this and much more.  My guest today is Crothúr Murphy, a long time expert not just in tourism to Ireland, but in the history, culture, and soul of its people. Crothúr grew up here and has been showing his country off for nearly 30 years - which if you can imagine, takes a whole pot of passion at the end of the rainbow to do and do well.  Crothúr and I discuss how Irish culture survived through 800 years of English rule, fairies and fairy trees, how to feel like a local, and more.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/25/202245 minutes, 58 seconds
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Psychedelics Travel | Medicine Journeys in a Luxury Setting

If you’ve been paying attention to the mental health and wellness space, you know that psychedelics have burst onto the scene in a big way. Major universities like Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Berkeley are studying their effects on PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more.  Many guides and shamans in this space describe the use of psilocybin, MDMA, and other substances together with integrative therapy sessions to be equivalent to years and years of traditional therapy.  And now, these plant medicine journeys are making their mark on luxury wellness travel.  My guests today are Robert Grover and Gary Logan who provide private luxury retreats and create profound experiences for clients.  We discuss their experience with these medicines, their guiding philosophies, and how they orchestrate a comfortable luxury setting. For more accessible information on the science of psychedelics I can also highly recommend the Michael Pollan interview on The Tim Ferris Show.  Last but not least, though the substances discussed on this episode are showing great promise in the clinical studies, they are not legal in the United States and many other countries. Luxury Travel Insider and I are not condoning any illegal activity.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
5/18/202237 minutes, 57 seconds
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Southeast Asia | Aman: Balanced, Understated, and Dramatic

My guest today is Tom Rutherford, the Regional Director for three gorgeous Aman hotels in Southeast Asia - Amansara in Cambodia, Amantaka in Laos, and Amanoi in Vietnam.  When you head to this region of the world, especially away from the hustle and bustle of the major cities… time just seems to slow down. Here there is enough time for the Laotian farmer to tend to the animals, the crops, break bread with his neighbors, and honor his family. There’s enough space on the beaches of Vietnam to quiet your mind, and enough grounding history in Cambodia to inspire you to get back to your purpose for being.  Combine this atmosphere with the Aman ethos for wellness, beautiful architecture, and some of the best service in the world and you’ll understand why guests come back to these gems over and over.  Tom and I chat about all of this, plus why now is a phenomenal time to be visiting Southeast Asia.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/11/202232 minutes, 4 seconds
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Travel Insurance | The Most Important Travel Purchase You Never Think Of

We’re talking about travel insurance and other forms of travel protection. I can’t tell you how many myths abound about this aspect of travel - from thoughts that claims don’t get paid anyway, to not fully understanding why it’s so important.  We insure our cars, our watches, our dog’s vet bills - and even though luxury travelers are spending MUCH more on their trips than on these items… they don’t all insure.  Over the past two years in my business I can’t tell you how valuable having travel insurance has been for our clients in the know.  So today I’m welcoming Shannon Lofdahl and Ross Thompson, respective CEOs of Travelex and Covac Global. We did our best to illustrate this topic through some interesting stories and historical context.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/4/202244 minutes, 52 seconds
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Antarctica | Patrick Woodhead: Modern Explorers, Luxury Camps, and Untouched Wilderness

Today we find ourselves on “The Ice” deep in the heart of Antarctica. And I mean the interior of Antarctica, land of majestic mountains, the Emperor Penguin, and the magnetic south pole.  Though you once had to go on months long expeditions to reach these destinations, you can now fly five hours on a Gulfstream from Cape Town and experience all the Great White has to offer from the comfort of a luxury camp.  Our guest today is Patrick Woodhead - founder and CEO of White Desert, the logistics and hospitality company that can make all this happen. But Patrick’s vision for White Desert comes from his years of being a true explorer, visiting some of the most remote places on the planet.  We chat about what it takes to be an explorer, how all of us can infuse that spirit into our daily lives, some of Patrick’s craziest experiences, the Antarctic experience, and baby Emperor Penguins. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/27/202248 minutes, 56 seconds
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SeaDream Yacht Club | President, Bob Lepisto on Yachting vs Cruising

Today we’re chatting with Bob Lepisto, President of Sea Dream Yacht Club. SeaDream owns two mega yachts, each with about 50 cabins. The biggest no no when talking about SeaDream is to call it a cruise!  Bob has been with the company for 20 years so we get to chat about the history of the cruise industry and how with SeaDream they wanted to start something different. Something where you wouldn’t have to organize your own yacht and all the work that goes along with that, but where you’d still get the yachting experience.  SeaDream sails around the Caribbean and Mediterranean and gets you access to gorgeous spots that you couldn’t otherwise see on a cruise ship. The company is famous for its super friendly crew and world class cuisine as well.  Bob and I talk about some of his favorite destinations, parties in the mid-Atlantic, and a few insider tidbits as well.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
4/20/202247 minutes, 15 seconds
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Amalfi & St. Petersburg | A Belmond Panel on Cocktails & Caviar

We’re shaking it up today with a panel of food and beverage experts from one of our favorite hotel brands, Belmond! Together we’ll explore the skill and hard work that goes into creating some of your favorite drinks - from the shorelines of Italy to the palaces of St. Petersburg.  Our guests today are: Tommaso Mansi and Nikita Yurin. Tommaso is the head bar manager at the stunning Belmond Caruso hotel situated along the Amalfi Coast. He is also a local and an expert in lemon production, one of the key ingredients in any good cocktail in this region.  Nikita is the head vodka and caviar sommlier at Belmond’s luxurious hotel in St. Petersburg, Grand Hotel Europe - a spot which also boasts the oldest continually used restaurant in all of Russia.  What I love about this episode is hearing Nikita and Tommaso speak so passionately about their crafts. Imagine all that passion poured into something as simple as a drink or a set of caviar. To me it demonstrates another way that people in the hospitality industry show real love and caring for their guests.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
4/13/202239 minutes
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Spain | Elena Florez: A Country of Festivals, Tapas, and Unspoiled Landscapes

Imagine looking up at a blanket of stars, the sound of the ocean lapping, and the smell of sea air mixed with sweet pine. Then picture another scene - crowds squealing with excitement, bulls rushing by, and a cup of sangria refreshing your soul.  Today we’re discussing the country of Spain - a place so diverse it may as well be a hundred different destinations in one! Whether you’re here to focus on world class gastronomy, experience local festivals, or just relax in the sun, this dynamic country has it all.  Our guest today is Elena Florez, our partner and Spanish luxury travel expert. Elena explains for us how Spain became such a melting pot of cultures, how that’s affected the country today, and describes some fabulous destinations and experiences.  Make up a plate of jamon and manchego, and enjoy this fun chat with Elena Florez.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/6/202242 minutes, 32 seconds
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New Zealand Reopens!| Owner Southern Crossings, Sarah Farag: Don't Miss the North Island, A History of The Luxury Lodges, and The Story of a Junior Ranger

Today we’re discussing the iconic destination of New Zealand. Known for sweeping vistas, life-giving hiking, sumptuous food and wine, and ridiculous adventure activities. Though famous for towns like Queenstown - the real magic of New Zealand happens when you get to have vast open spaces all to yourself. With the right planning and guides, that can happen quite easily! Our guest today is my friend Sarah Farag, Owner and Director of Southern Crossings New Zealand. The company has been around for 34 years and hosts everyone from your everyday traveler to celebrities and royals. Sarah is also the only New Zealander recognized as a Conde Nast Traveler Specialist. Sarah and I discuss her favorite destinations, what makes Kiwi hospitality so memorable, and some unimaginable wow moments they’ve created for travelers like you. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
3/30/202231 minutes, 4 seconds
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Villa Rentals | Laura Blair: Exclusivity, Customization, and Privacy as the New Luxury

Today we’re talking about a particular type of travel that is gaining popularity around the world - villa rentals.  In the past this kind of travel was reserved for the uber wealthy and very well connected. Finding amazing villas in Italy or San Tropez was a nightmare, and imagine renting something so expensive sight unseen or with one photo sent you  in black and white and via fax machine!  Then came the advent of home rental websites which have really opened up this type of travel to the every day person… but for our luxury travelers, these options that have not been vetted by a professional are often not suitable.  Enter the world of vetted villa rentals. I spend a lot of time working with partners who personally inspect villas around the world so we can provide them to our clients. I wanted to bring on one of those experts to talk through what makes this kind of travel special.  Laura Blair founded In Villas Veritas before the rise of online home rentals and shares lots of insider tidbits with us.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/23/202228 minutes, 45 seconds
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France | Coquillade Provence: A Cyclists Paradise, Blooming Lavender, and 10 Centuries of History

Today we’re headed to Provence in Southern France to be well, soak up the sun, and inhale the scent of lavender.  This special region has so much to offer, from intense outdoor activities to easy bike rides, to impressionist history, and of course a refreshing glass of rose’.  Our guest today is Alain Bachmann, the GM of a special property near Luberon called Coquillade. This gem was originally built in the 11th century and much of that history is preserved. Today, it’s a haven for all kinds of travelers, from those who are training for cycling races to those who are just here to enjoy the gorgeous countryside and the spa.  Alain and I discuss what makes Provence so special, why artists like Van Gogh were taken with the area, and some of the special foods you might find on a journey here.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/16/202231 minutes, 40 seconds
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Switzerland | Mario Wuersch: Stunning Vistas, Glamorous Ski Villages, and Discovering the Country by Train

Today we’re touching down in the Alps… the Swiss Alps to be precise. In this most stunning of landscapes we’ll encounter over 7,000 lakes, four different spoken languages, some of the world’s best chocolate, and an abundance of charming villages and towns.  Switzerland is a mecca for cultural tourists, spa goers, and anyone who appreciates the majestic outdoors.  My guest today is Mario Wuersch, Swiss himself and an expert in luxury travel to the country. Mario’s company has been around since 1865 and we discuss what travel was like back then, how it’s evolved, and discover some insider tips about visiting.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/9/202237 minutes, 37 seconds
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Windstar Cruises | Chris Prelog: Cruising the Black Sea, Luxury Sailing Yachts, and The Joy of Exploration

Our guest today is Chris Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises - a small ship cruise line that focuses on sailing vessels… yes.. With actual sails!  Imagine yourself on deck of one of these magical ships, pulling out of port, the 1492 Conquest of Paradise song playing, sails unrolling, and heading into the open ocean. What nostalgia for a time gone by! Except on Windstar you’re also met with every modern comfort, fabulous destinations like Tahiti, The Black Sea, Iceland, and the Mediterranean, and an in depth exploration of the world.  Chris and I chat about the special bonds formed between guests and crew members on small ship sailings, the role of communities in sustainability, and the massive operation behind a sailing vessel this large.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/2/202236 minutes, 28 seconds
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Panama | Expert Panel: The Tiny Country that Changed the World

Today we’re chatting about Panama and all its beauty, diversity, culture, and history.  Believe it or not this small country has shaped the course of our entire planet. Scientists say that the formation of the isthmus is what changed the climate to allow ideal conditions for humans to thrive, and today that same isthmus boats a certain canal that has a lot to do with making your daily Amazon purchases happen!  Now as for travel - Panama is your oyster. Whether you’re coming for surfing, for cloud forests, to learn about indigenous culture, or for history - Panama can provide it all.   We have two guests today - Jonathan Zelcer, Panamanian and expert in luxury travel to Panama, and Ben Loomis, owner of famed beach resort Isla Palenque.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/23/202241 minutes, 27 seconds
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Scotland | The Gleneagles Hotel: Falconry, Gundogs, and a Glorious Playground

Today we travel to a very special corner of the world, called Gleneagles. Set amongst lush, green, Scottish countryside in the shadow of Stirling Castle, Gleneagles drips with history, elegance, and flair. Over the last one hundred years this estate has hosted Presidents, Lords, celebrities, Wimbledon champs, and of course the everyday luxury traveler like you and me. Whether you are visiting for rest and relaxation, to experience the falconry and gundog school, or to dine at the best restaurant in Scotland - Gleneagles has something for you.  Our guest today is Conor O’Leary, Managing Director of all of Gleneagles’ operations across Scotland. He tells us about the beautiful countryside, some fun stories of past guests, and what you can expect from a visit.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/16/202225 minutes, 7 seconds
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Australia Reopens!| Rerun: Australia's Luxury Lodges, Experiencing Aboriginal Culture, and The Power of Relationships

Today we’re exploring the country of Australia, famous for its icons like the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, and the Great Barrier Reef. The dazzling landscape is fit for the movies from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. To try to understand the country at a deeper level, we have three guests with us today. My friend and partner in the region, Stuart Rigg - an expert in luxury Australia itineraries, Charlie Carlow - the owner of the fabulous Wild Bush Luxury Lodges, and Clarence Slockee a musician, dancer, well known horticulturist, sometimes television show host, and of course proud Aboriginal man. We discuss everything from off the beaten path destinations, to indigenous species, to the uniquely Australian concept of “mateship.” Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/9/202236 minutes, 46 seconds
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Puglia | Borgo Egnazia: Charming Local Villages, The Origin of Burrata, and Where Tradition Meets Innovation

I’m excited to uncover the Puglia region of Italy with you today.  While visiting Puglia, you might feel like you’re stepping back into the Italy seen in the movies of the 50s and 60s. You’ll stroll through charming villages, meet locals who still do things the traditional way, sample ultra fresh burrata cheese and olive oil, and of course enjoy the gorgeous waters of the Adriatic. Our guest today is Aldo Melpignano, owner and managing director of the famed Borgo Egnazia hotel and several other spots in his family’s collection. Aldo and I discuss how finding these hidden gems of Italy is not only exciting, but also is an important link in promoting sustainable tourism. We also hear all about his gorgeous property, some celebrity stories, and insider tips as well.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/2/202237 minutes, 52 seconds
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Canada | Marc Telio: A Mosaic of Cultures, Majestic Landscapes, and Understanding First Nations

Today we’re whisking you away to a vast and varied land. Where you’ll find lush rainforests, Arctic tundra, mountain peaks over 19,000 feet, cosmopolitan cities, great open plains, vivid turquoise lakes, and rugged coastal beauty. Where is this magical land you might ask? Look no further than our beautiful neighbor to the north, Canada.  My guest today is Marc Telio, founder and CEO of Entree Destinations, who has been exploring his country through the eyes of travelers for nearly 30 years.  We chat about everything from how to learn about and honor First Nations cultures when visiting Canada, to over the top fishing trips, to the mosaic of cultures and foods in the country.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/26/202238 minutes, 43 seconds
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Philippines | Amanpulo: Swimming with Turtles, Shooting Stars, and Embracing Simplicity

My guest today is Audeline Witjaksono, the Regional Director for several Aman hotels in Asia, as well as GM of Amanpulo in the Philippines. Just speaking with Audeline and soaking up the vibes from her location calmed me and brought my always on the go energy down a couple notches… so imagine actually being there! Amanpulo is set on a far flung private island, nestled in the western part of the Philippines, yet it is surprisingly easy to get to from Manilla. And while you’d expect (and get!) powder fine sand, crystal clear turquoise waters, and warm ocean breezes… you’ll also experience a deep sense of place, Filipino hospitality, adventure sports, wildlife, and more. Audeline and I chat about kite boarding, the culture of the Philippines, respecting nature, and of course the world class Aman service.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/19/202242 minutes, 58 seconds
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Galapagos | Meet The Guides: Pacha Mama, Incredible Wildlife, and Passionate Naturalists

Here’s the inside scoop on this episode. In late 2021 I traveled to the Galapagos and thought it would be fun to try something new on the pod.  My goal was to capture the stories of locals, guides, and even some of the wildlife through sounds and live experiences.  So what you’re about to hear is a compilation of interviews, live sounds from our explorations, and hopefully a whole lotta inspiration!  We discuss what makes the Galapagos utterly unique in the world, what it was like for some of our guides to grow up without electricity, cross the Pacific in a canoe, and bike ride across South America. But most importantly - these special folks share the lessons they hope visitors to these enchanted islands walk away with.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn    
1/12/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 7 seconds
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Ireland | Ashford Castle: An 800 Year Old Castle, Secret Trap Doors, and How Slow Travel is The Way to Experience Ireland

Robert Bowe is one of the top guest experience managers at Ashford Castle in Western Ireland. Ashford may be an 800 year old castle, but it’s also a modern day icon in the world of luxury travel. Driving up to the castle, you’ll feel like you’re in Camelot - you’ll first see the lush green grounds set next to the ocean. Then you’ll discover the history, the secret passageways, and the fine silks and antiques throughout the property. It sounds like it could be stuffy - but it’s not. The service comes from the heart and makes it feel like coming home. Robert is your typical Irishman, with loads of great stories to tell (really, we could have gone on for hours!) and an amazing charm. We discuss little known stories about the castle, what keeps guests coming back year after year, and a little celebrity gossip too! See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/5/202221 minutes, 57 seconds
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Burgundy | Le Relais Bernard Loiseau: A Chef’s Legacy, The French Art de Vivre, and World Class Wines

Today we’re headed into the heart of Burgundy for an education on French cuisine and hospitality.  We’ll start by meeting an infinitely interesting cast of characters - first, my guest Bérangère Loiseau. Then we’ll learn about her mother, Dominique (a biochemist turned top hotelier) and finally, Bérangère’s world-famous chef of a father, Bernard Loiseau.  Along the way we’ll learn interesting tidbits on what it takes to become a 3 Michelin Star Chef, how Chef Bernard Loiseau changed the culinary world, and how the family turned their passion for food and hospitality into one of the top hotels in France - Le Relais Bernard Loiseau.  Bérangère and I also discuss the glitz and glamour of old Burgundy, why this is the perfect stop on your route across France, and how to enjoy the French art of living.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/29/202140 minutes, 32 seconds
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Malta | Damon Allan: The Order of Malta, Village Feasts, and 7,000 Years of History

Today we’re discussing the historical destination of Malta. This small chain of islands in the Mediterranean Sea has been smack dab in the middle of African, Arab, and European conquests for over 7,000 years.   If the word Malta conjures up cute white puppies and James Bond like movie scenes, I think you’ll find that’s not quite the truth.  Our guest today is Damon Camilleri Allan, our partner in planning trips to this island nation. We discuss everything from village feasts, to The Order of Malta, to the interesting melting pot that is the Maltese culture.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/22/202128 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Evolution of Travel | Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso

Today’s show is about the evolution of travel - from the golden age of plane travel starting in the late 40s, to the excesses of the 80s, to the rapid changes brought about by the internet, 9/11, and the Covid-19 Pandemic.  My guest today is one of the most influential people in the luxury travel world, Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso Travel.  Matthew tells stories of how travel planning was done before the internet and explains what Virtuoso is and why every luxury traveler should know about it. We also discuss the benefits of travel, how we can think about sustainability as we come out of Covid, and how high end luxury travelers actually have more in common with backpackers than you might think.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/15/20211 hour, 7 minutes, 5 seconds
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Versailles | Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle: A Dream Hotel INSIDE The Walls of Versailles

Imagine yourself standing in a huge square… light glinting off gilded gates adorned with sun shaped medallions. The scent of lemon trees and orange blossoms fills the air. You’re surrounded by the spirit of some of the most important historical figures who have ever lived.  When you realize you’re not in a dream, you’ll see that you’re standing at the Palace of Versaille. And shortly thereafter, be whisked away to a private 12 room hotel on the grounds of the palace called Le Grand Contrôle. Our guest today, is Julien Révah, the General Manager of this new experience from Airelles. When staying with Julien and his team, you’ll have access to after hours tours of the palace and private tours of the Petit Trianon.  Julien and I chat about the restoration of this wing of Versailles, the amazing experiences you can have (think: Versailles period costume dinners!), and how this nook of the world played a part in changing history.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/8/202138 minutes, 11 seconds
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Expedition Yachting | EYOS Expeditions: Visiting The Mariana Trench, Extravagant Antarctica, and True Discovery

This week we’re exploring the most remote corners of the world. In Antarctica - heading deep into the continent to uncover the South Pole. In the Pacific - diving the depths of the Mariana Trench, and in the tropics - visiting uninhabited islands that few people have ever stepped foot on. All this and more can be had with the advent of Expedition Yachting - the ability to charter a private vessel complete with all the bells and whistles, and have it all to yourself. Ben Lyons, the CEO of EYOS Expeditions, joins us today to tell stories of the rich and famous gone yachting, why this kind of travel is so important for the world, and to open our eyes to the possibility of exploration.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/1/202139 minutes, 45 seconds
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Ski Travel | Rick Reichsfeld & Olympian Richelle Blanken: Finding Perfect Powder, The Best Après-Ski in Europe, and How Skiing Brings us Together

Today… we’re going skiing! And not just in Colorado, or Utah, or California - but all over the world from Chile, to Japan, to Italy and France. Our guests today are the brother and sister team, Rick Reichsfeld and Richelle Blanken. The duo grew up skiing competitively, both raced in college, and then Richelle even raced professionally. When Richelle left the national team - brother and sister teamed up to find a way to make a living from helping others experience the joy of skiing around the world. We discuss everything from their best tips for families to their favorite destinations, ski runs, and craziest après-ski parties. If you’re a ski lover, this is an episode you don’t want to miss!   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/24/202142 minutes, 29 seconds
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Luxury Hotel Design | Bill Bensley: A Man of Many Talents, A Passion for Conservation, And The Importance of Continuous Learning

I’m so excited today to be speaking with travel lover and true renaissance man - Bill Bensley. If you haven’t heard of Bill, you’ve CERTAINLY heard of some of the hotels he’s designed. World renowned projects like Capella Ubud, Four Seasons Tented Camp, Shinta Mani and more. Before any of these were notable on the world’s stage, before any of them were even built - Bill was there. Soaking in the curve of the land, the angle at which the moon shines, and the direction from which the wind blows. He takes his inspiration and genius from the natural world, melds his ideas with a story or fairy tale, and creates hotels that are the stuff of dreams. Bill and I chat about some of his favorite destinations, the heart and soul that goes into designing a hotel, his tips for mastering a new passion, and much much more.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/17/202143 minutes, 18 seconds
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Rwanda | One & Only + Volcanoes National Park: On Conservation, Thrilling Moments with Gorillas, and The Hope of Africa

We’re taking you on a journey today to the inspirational country of Rwanda. While not often first on the list of most travelers, those who make it here are absolutely captivated by the people, who have rebuilt their lives and their country so authentically.  After a warm welcome, visitors to this nook of Africa will then be further blown away by likely the most impactful wildlife experience of their lives - sitting face to face with an endangered Mountain Gorilla.  And, luckily for these travelers, they can do it in style at One & Only’s two gorgeous properties - Gorilla’s Nest and Nyungwe House.  Today we have two very special guests, Craig Storkey who runs One & Only Rwanda, and Propser Uwingeli who is the Chief Park Warden of Volcanos National Park.  Prosper and Craig both share their love of Rwanda, how and why conservation is thriving in the country, and some incredible experiences with the amazing Great Apes.  I hope you enjoy this magical episode of Luxury Travel Insider.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/10/202153 minutes, 38 seconds
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Sicily | Barbara Iaccarino: The Spicy Side of Italy

Today we find ourselves strolling along the coastlines of Taormina, the historical walkways of Palermo, and in the shadow of the gorgeous Mt. Etna. I’m so excited to be chatting with my friend, Barbara Iaccarino to dive into the fascinating island of Sicily. Any mention of Sicily conjures up mafiosos eating cannoli and stunning coastal vistas - but Barbara helps us go a bit deeper and to understand the melting pot of cultures that have influenced this region over thousands of years. We chat about everything from family adventures, to local handicrafts, to WWII, to the Sicilian Kiss!   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/3/202133 minutes, 54 seconds
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Wellness Travel | Canyon Ranch: Profound Experiences, Aha Moments, and The Power of Transformation

I’m so excited today to be chatting with the CEO of a place that is near and dear to my heart, Canyon Ranch. Canyon Ranch is a pioneer in the wellness industry, a place where you can get away from the stress of everyday life and focus on what is most important. That focus is different for everyone who visits the ranch - whether you need a mental break from work, you’re focused on improving your health, or you’re interested in finding spirituality - Canyon Ranch will mold itself around you and help you find the way. It doesn’t hurt that their locations are set in the gorgeous desert of Tucson, amidst the Redwood trees of Woodside, and the iconic foliage of the Berkshires. Joining me today is Jeff Kuster, who came to lead the Canyon Ranch brand in a roundabout way. He was actually a guest in Tucson, there focused on himself and what he wanted to do next in his career. And the rest… is history. Jeff and I discuss how small changes can make a huge impact on your life, some of his favorite memories of past guests, and how wellness has evolved over the decades.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/27/202136 minutes, 35 seconds
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British Virgin Islands | Rosewood Little Dix Bay: Rockefellers, Royalty, and a Private Escape in Paradise

Today we’re soaking up some island vibes in the British Virgin Islands. So, imagine yourself on the island of Virgin Gorda, with swaying palm trees in the background, a pain killer drink in hand, and some of the most stunning views in the Caribbean.  Now open your eyes and you’ll find yourself at the Rosewood Little Dix Bay.  Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that this isn’t just a shiny new resort taking up space on a pristine island. It was designed by conservationist Laurance Rockefeller and has a rich history including Queen Elizabeth and families who have visited every year since the early 1960s.  I chat with General Manager Andreas Pade about that history, little known facts, and what sets this destination apart from others.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/20/202131 minutes, 5 seconds
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Wendy Perrin: The Importance of Becoming a Global Citizen + The Difference Between Vacation and Travel

I’m so thrilled today to be speaking with travel Guru, Wendy Perrin. When I first met Wendy, I was totally fan-girling, and was even more surprised when I asked her to come on the show and she enthusiastically and quickly said.. Yes!  I’ve since found that this enthusiasm defines Wendy. From her desire to help promote travel, to excitement about learning new things, to helping people of all backgrounds and statures. If you haven’t heard of Wendy, she had an illustrious 25 year career at Conde Nast Traveler, is a published author, and runs WendyPerrin.com. She is renowned for her encyclopedic knowledge of travel and of course willingness to share.  Wendy and I talk about why travel is so important in this day and age, some upcoming trends to look out for, and share our favorite destinations, hotels, and splurge-worthy experiences.     Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/13/202150 minutes, 41 seconds
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Romania | Raluca Spiac: Remarkable Biodiversity, Stories of Resilience, and Seeing Beyond Dracula

Today we’re visiting the most bio geographically diverse country in the European Union to explore dazzling waterfalls, UNESCO protected medieval villages, snow capped mountains, and sandy black sea beaches. But you may have never heard of these treasures as they are all hidden in plain sight, behind the large as life myth of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Romania is a country not of vampires and werewolves, but of resilient people living amongst some of the most spectacular natural beauty on the continent. Our guest today is one of these people - Raluca Spiac, who after a successful business career abroad, came home to rediscover her own country and share it with the world. We discuss everything from the Danube Delta, to Prince Charles, to slow travel, and more. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/6/202139 minutes, 15 seconds
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Nature Travel | Ben Bressler: Close Up Encounters with Polar Bears, Wolves, and Tigers + Raising the Bar on Conservation

Today you’ll come face to face with a polar bear, see a herd of twenty elephants passing by your picnic setup, and hear the wings flap of 500,000 monarch butterflies. The topic of today’s show is nature travel, and my guest is Ben Bressler, Founder and CEO of Natural Habitat Adventures - a company that achieves their mission of conservation through helping you explore the wilderness. Whether you’re in India tracking tigers, or just in your own backyard enjoying the wonders of a tiny hummingbird, there is an awe in observing the natural world that can teach us something precious about life. Ben and I chat about the first time he realized tourism could be a driving force for conservation, some incredible experiences he’s had in the wild, and how just being in nature and taking it all in can be one of the most powerful tools for sustainability.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/29/202146 minutes, 37 seconds
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Maldives | Alex Chambers: World Class Surfing, Overwater Bungalows, and Lesser Known Gems

Imagine yourself floating in crystal clear, turquoise waters with fringes of palm trees rustling in the breeze, and not a soul in sight.  This may sound like a fantasy but it happens with regularity in the Maldives. This gorgeous chain of atolls sprawling across the Indian Ocean is one of the best places on the planet to disconnect and feel immersed in nature. And when you’ve had your fill of relaxing you can dive with whale sharks, surf some of the best breaks in the world, and dine in underwater restaurants.  Our guest today is Alex Chambers, my partner in the Maldives, who has lived in and traveled to the region regularly for the past 30 years. We discuss how the islands have changed since the tourism boom, sustainability, and some unimaginable luxury experiences.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/22/202142 minutes, 46 seconds
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Oman | Taimur Al-said: Palm Fringed Oases, The Silence of the Empty Quarter, and Luxury Camping Under the Stars

I’m excited to take you to one of my favorite countries today, the Sultanate of Oman. Located on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, this hidden gem boasts rugged mountain ranges bursting with roses, terraced orchards of pomegranates, vast sand dune deserts, and date palm fringed oases dotted with crystal clear limestone pools of water. One of the best ways to experience Oman is by camping and spending time with a local guide. So our guest today is Taimur Al-said, the owner of Hud Hud Travels. Taimur specializes in luxury camp set ups so that whether you’re a couple or a big family or a huge group of friends - you can have this experience in comfort. We discuss everything from the Sultan, to trying Omani food streetside, to the gorgeous natural beauty of the countryside.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/15/202131 minutes, 44 seconds
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Thailand | Expert panel: Discovering the Essence of Thailand Through Food, Textiles, and Off the Beaten Path Destinations

We’re shaking it up today with a panel of experts on one of my favorite countries, Thailand! Together we’ll explore the bustling capital of Bangkok, stunning national parks, and the culture of this fascinating country. Our guests today are: James Beard Award Winning Chef, Andy Ricker, who lives in Chiang Mai and is an expert in Northern Thai cuisine. Oh, and he showed Anthony Bourdain around the area in an episode of Parts Unknown. Next we have Ake Rittinapakorn, who is a scholar and expert in Southeast Asian arts, antiques, and textiles, and can get our clients access to a royal family private retreat. Finally, Belinda Shillcock, expert on all up and coming destinations in Thailand and the regional managing director for Abercrombie & Kent, overseeing all of Southeast Asia. What I love about this episode is hearing these three souls speak passionately about food, tourism, and arts - and use their respective mediums to dive deep into the heart of what Thailand is all about. I learned a lot about how to be a true traveler from this episode, and I hope you do too.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/8/202157 minutes, 30 seconds
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Belmond Venice Simplon Orient Express | GM, Pascal Deyrolle: The Magic of Train Travel, Snowfall in the Alps, and Traveling Back in Time

Today we’re whisking you away on a captivating journey aboard the Venice Simplon Orient Express. With a history dating back to 1883, this train route has transported aristocrats and historic figures like Tolstoy, Trotsky, Marlene Dietrich, and Lawrence of Arabia. Many of the cars of the Venice Simplon are original cars from the 1920s and all are painstakingly restored to preserve the charm of the day. Our guest today is Pascal Deyrolle, who started as a cabin steward on the train 30 years ago and is today the General Manager in charge of all train operations. Pascal tells some great stories, and we discuss how the Venice Simplon transports you back in time, how the outside world will fade away, and how you can reconnect with what’s important. All aboard for this fascinating chat about Belmond’s Venice Simplon Orient Express.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/1/202137 minutes, 25 seconds
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Alaska | Owner Kirsten Dixon, Winterlake Lodge, Tutka Bay Lodge: Sustainability, Alaskan Cuisine, and Enjoying the Bright & Shiny Parts of Life

Today’s show is about Alaska and two of it’s top luxury lodges, Winterlake and Tutka Bay Lodge. But it’s also about so much more! Our guest is owner and chef, Kirsten Dixon and after our recording I was asking her to be my mentor! Alaska is a destination that captures the imaginations of people from all over the world. It’s pristine beauty and rugged wilderness have so much to teach us. Travel has always been near and dear to my heart because it helps us to feel small, to realize how wide the world is around us - and Alaska is the perfect place to experience this. Kirsten reminds us all to drink up the bright and shiny parts of life and shares her experiences of Alaska with us. We discuss everything from wildlife and helicopter adventures, to story telling with shots of vodka, to cooking with your heart and soul.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/25/202144 minutes, 33 seconds
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Lux Adventure Travel | Ian Wick: Heliskiing Iceland, Fly Fishing Patagonia, and Truly Customized Adventures

Today we’re traveling the globe searching for unexpected experiences, off the grid lodges, and truly customized adventure activities. One of my favorite places to look for this unique combo is to my friends at Eleven Experience.  With Eleven you don’t have to sacrifice the comforts of luxury to experience some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and unique cultures. With lodges in remote parts of Patagonia, New Zealand, Iceland, France, the Bahamas, and the US - they’ve got your adventure needs covered.  My guest today is Ian Wick, who runs the operations for Eleven. We chat about everything from the best powder skiing, to fly fishing in Patagonia, to geothermal heated pools in Iceland. But more importantly - we explore the idea that true luxury is customization, authentic experiences, and going where others do not.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn  
8/18/202135 minutes, 19 seconds
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Scotland | Expert Panel: In Search of Magical Landscapes, Unique Festivals, and Adventure Experiences

Today we’re whisking you away to Scotland, the land of castles, whiskey, and tartan. But there’s more to experience here than just the typical stereotypes. Whether you’re coming for magnificent neolithic ruins, to cycle across the country, or to revel in some of the most authentic festivals you’ll find anywhere in the world - Scotland has something for everyone. Our guests today are Paul Easto and Stevie Christie - experts of course on Scotland, but also on active adventures around the country like kayaking, hiking, and cycling. We dive into so many insider tips in this episode, from the evolution of Scottish food, to the history of the Scottish Clan, to exploring the thousands of Scottish islands by kayak… and everything in between.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/11/202149 minutes, 36 seconds
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Family Travel | Expert, Magali Dechelette: Crafting Magical Moments and The Art of Traveling With Kids

Instead of diving into a gorgeous hotel or fabulous destination, we’re jumping headlong into the nuance of family travel with my partner, and one of the world’s top experts, Magali Dechelette. So often our clients think that kids need to be in their teens to enjoy Europe, or that family travel is just too difficult. So we’re here today to dispel that myth. Whether you’re doing a treasure hunt at the Louvre, making your own paella dinner in Madrid, or going through gladiator training outside of Rome - I promise, there IS a way to engage even your most Fortnite or Instagram obsessed child. Magali and I discuss her favorite destinations in Europe, some ungoogleable experiences, and how traveling with children can make the world a better place. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/6/202137 minutes, 30 seconds
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Seabourn Expeditions | VP Robin West: Custom Built Ships, Experiencing the Northern Lights, and Exploring by Submarine

Our guest today is Robin West, Vice President and GM of Seabourn Expeditions - one of the first ultra-luxury companies to dive into expedition cruising. Whether you find yourself in a state-of-the-art submarine, basking in the Northern Lights, enjoying a gourmet meal onboard, exploring the untouched coastlines of Greenland, or indulging in a world-class spa treatment - you’ll be unmistakably Seabourn. Robin and I discuss how Seabourn’s new expedition ships were custom made for this unique type of travel, some of his favorite wildlife moments, and how expedition travel can awaken your curiosity and increase your sense of meaning. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
8/3/202148 minutes, 4 seconds
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Quebec | Manoir Hovey: Quirky History, Fall Foliage, and A European-like Getaway

With Canada re-opening its borders soon to tourism, I’m excited to welcome our first Canadian guest on the show. We’re headed into the countryside of Quebec today to chat with Jason Stafford of Manoir Hovey, one of the top hotels in all of Canada. Though it’s set in French Canada, Manoir Hovey was actually designed after George Washington’s estate by a businessman from Georgia in the year 1900. In wondering how this could be, I unraveled the fascinating history of the town of North Hatley, where British Loyalists fled to after 1776 and were followed by Southern land owners after the Civil War. This influx of 17th and 18th century Americans mixing with the local French population has created a melting pot experience unique in this world. Jason and I chat on everything from Montreal Bagels, to haunted grandfather clocks, to 5 star service and locally sourced food.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/30/202130 minutes, 4 seconds
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Ireland | Ballyfin: Nobility, Restoration to Glory, and Costume Parties

Today we travel to a very special corner of the world, called Ballyfin. Set amongst lush, green, rolling foothills, an hour outside of Dublin, Ballyfin drips with history, beauty, and charm. Over the last two hundred years this mansion has been a family home, hosted glamorous parties for nobility, and used as a boarding school before falling into disrepair. In the early 2000s the future of one of Ireland's finest houses was looking incredibly bleak. Enter, our guest today - Jim Reynolds, an archeologist and master gardener, turned hotelier. Given his unique skillset, Jim was asked to lead the painstaking 9-year renovation of the property and has been with Ballyfin every since. Today the estate boasts gorgeous gardens, stately guest rooms, lavish costume parties, and traditional activities like horseback riding, clay shooting, and falconry. Jim tells us all about the history, the charm of the Irish people, and what you might glean from a visit here. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/27/202141 minutes, 39 seconds
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California | Cal-a-Vie: A French Inspired Escape and Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

We’re heading to Southern California today, to be whisked away from all our worries and unhealthy influences at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa. Cal-a-Vie is situated in a sun-dappled valley just north of San Diego. When arriving here you’ll be greeted by lavender fields, sunflowers, and vineyards and then treated to some of the best service and luxury accommodations in the industry. Though the property was rated Travel & Leisure’s #1 Destination Health Spa in North America - it’s more than just a spa. Here you can set and achieve health goals, reset mentally, and work with experts in exercise, mindfulness, and aesthetics. Our guest is Terri Havens, the owner of Cal-a-Vie and visionary behind it’s nurturing design and life changing programs. Terri tells us some incredible stories about the property and some very special past guests.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/23/202136 minutes, 22 seconds
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Germany | Thomas Tritschler: A Country of Kingdoms, Craftsmanship, and Castles

Today we’re journeying to the historic lands of Germany. What was once a country of independent principalities, is today a major European power. But those individualistic roots still shine through - in the art of winemaking outside Geisenheim, in the intricate porcelain craftsmanship of Saxony, and the friendly competition to make the best local variety of sausages.  Whether you’re coming to Germany for medieval castles, racecars, the underground hip hop of Berlin, or perhaps some Oktoberfest revelry - there’s a little something here for everyone.  Thomas and I touch on how German culture has evolved, some special experiences to be had on your next visit, and what you just might learn from traveling here.    Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/20/202131 minutes, 37 seconds
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New Zealand | Robertson Lodges: From Sheep Farm to Luxury Lodges, and Heli-golfing Award Winning Courses

I’m thrilled to take you back to New Zealand today, the home of the worlds most magnificent landscapes, the cuddliest kiwi birds, and heart-pumping adventure activities. Specifically we’re learning about some of the country’s top luxury lodges - Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers on the North Island and Matakauri near Queenstown. Whether you’re helicoptering to an alpine lake for a special picnic, exploring the Cliffs of Hawks Bay by can-am, or golfing one of the top 100 golf courses in the world - you will surely be wowed at every turn. Joining us is Jay Robertson, CEO of Robertson Lodges. We discuss everything from conservation, to fly fishing, to the local can-do culture.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/16/202134 minutes, 10 seconds
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Normandy & Brittany | Adrienne O'Donoghue: Powerful D-Day Stories, The Birthplace of Impressionism, and Getting Lost in French Countryside

Today we’re discussing the regions of Normandy and Brittany - a land that has hosted Vikings, Celts, and Roman Invaders. While Normandy is certainly steeped in the emotional remains of WWII - it is also a beautiful reminder of the freedom we all enjoy today. Digging a bit deeper here you can find delicate lace, superbly fresh mussels, ancient megalithic ruins and medieval works of art. If there’s one thing that rings true about the Bretons and the Normans - it’s that they continue to honor their cultures and remain the backbone of France. Our guest today is Adrienne O’Donoghue. While originally from Maryland, Adrienne met her French husband in college while helping with the harvest in Bordeaux. In addition to living in Normandy for 25 years, being married to the Mayor of Chambois, and raising four children there - Adrienne was a 19th century antiques dealer for 10 years! She now partners with luxury travel advisors like me to craft amazing itineraries for our mutual clients. Adrienne and I discuss the history of this special region, impressionist art, crepes, and how to just get lost in the countryside.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/13/202137 minutes, 22 seconds
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Patagonia, Atacama, Chiloé | Tierra Hotels: Desert Stargazing, Stunning Architecture, and Cultivating an Appreciation for Natural Beauty

Today we’re discussing three gorgeous landscapes dotted across the country of Chile, with one of the owners of the iconic Tierra Hotels, Ellen Marie Guidera. Tierra Hotels are more truly lodges than hotels - with gorgeous architecture built to blend into the landscape, the friendliest local guides to make your stay unforgettable, and world class spas built to wow. Regardless of whether you’re set in Patagonia overlooking the mountain landscape, Chiloe exploring local villages on the lake, or in Atacama contemplating the universe - you’ll enter a Tierra state of mind. Ellen and I chat about what it means to be a family business, why Chile is such a fabulous destination, and why a lodge based vacation might just be your best trip yet.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/9/202131 minutes, 19 seconds
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China | Mei Zhang: Otherworldly Landscapes, Chinese Pop Culture, and How History Shapes Society

I’m so excited to take you around the world to the fascinating destination of China. In a country so vast and so varied - you could presumably stay for months and still barely scratch the surface. So here to help us decode what a trip to China could look like, is Mei Zhang. Mei grew up in the western city of Dali in the Yunnan province. After graduating from Harvard Business School, and working at McKinsey, she decided to help travelers experience her homeland in a different way. In this episode, Mei paints pictures of gorgeous landscapes, dispels myths about China, and reminisces about her hometown of Dali. We also discuss up and coming fashion and art, Chinese TikTok, and technology. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/6/202136 minutes, 41 seconds
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Vermont | Twin Farms: Luxury in Personalization, Relaxing into Your True Self, and the Wonders of the Vermont Countryside

We’re headed to the countryside today, deep in the heart of Vermont to chat with John Graham, the Managing Director of Twin Farms. Thinking of Vermont conjures up images of fall foliage glinting fiery orange, red, and gold. You might also smell sweet maple syrup or warm apple cider, and imagine yourself in an historic general store, covered bridge, or barn. At Twin Farms, one of the most talked about hotels in America, you can experience all this and much more. The 300 acres making up the farm was purchased in the 20s by Nobel Prize winning author, Sinclair Lewis as a wedding present for his journalist wife, Dorothy Thompson. Their story and the story of owners before and after - add to the charm of the experience. John and I discuss hidden secrets about the property, what Vermont is like in spring, and how this little farm in the middle of nowhere offers some of the most luxurious service on the continent.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
7/2/202130 minutes, 36 seconds
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Mexico | Zach Rabinor: Witnessing the Monarch Migration, Experiencing True Mexican Culture, and Expecting the Unexpected

Today we’re discussing the multi-faceted destination of Mexico. If you’re not reevaluating what you think you know about Mexico by the end of this episode we’ll have to have a chat! Whether you’re witnessing the miracle of the monarch butterfly migration, hiking the Copper Canyon, eating mole in Oaxaca, or swimming with whale sharks - you’ll be enchanted by the Mexican culture and all the diversity this country has to offer. A true luxury experience in Mexico isn’t just about glitzy hotels in the Baja - it’s about diving deeper and finding the unexpected. Our guest today is Zach Rabinor, an expert in crafting insider experiences in Mexico. We chat about his favorite surf spots, the breadth and depth of Mexican food, and some off the beaten path destinations to try for your next trip. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/29/202136 minutes, 19 seconds
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Zambia & Madagascar | Time + Tide, Miavana: The Wilder Side of Safari, A Private Island, and The Power of Disconnecting

I’m thrilled to take you on a journey around the world to the countries of Zambia and Madagascar today. While most safari goers think first of South Africa or maybe Kenya - Zambia offers a wilder experience. One where you can dip your toes in the sand of the African bush, experience wildlife eye to eye, and immerse yourself in untouched wilderness. Then trading one wild place for another, you can fly to Madagascar to enjoy one of the most luxurious private islands in the world, while catching glimpses of lemurs, baobab trees, and chameleons. Joining us today is Bruce Simpson - CEO of Time + Tide in Zambia and Miavana in Madagascar. In his career Bruce has done everything from guiding in South Africa to managing a private island in the Seychelles. His journey from guide to CEO means that he has more stories to tell than we could cover on this show! We discuss sleeping under the stars, how Time + Tide gets its guests truly immersed in nature, and touching stories from everyday people.   Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/25/202145 minutes, 46 seconds
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Costa Rica | Lapa Rios & Pacuare Lodge: How Tourism Changes Lives, The Richest Biodiversity in the World, and a Philosophy of Giving Back

Today we’re headed back to Costa Rica - but this time deep into the jungles of Turialba and the Osa Peninsula. Our guests today are Luz Caceres and Roberto Fernandez - owners of Pacuare Lodge and Lapa Rios. Both lodges offer incredible experiences like white water rafting to check-in, close up encounters with nature, and insights into indigenous culture and sustainability. Lapa Rios is set in the most biologically intense place on EARTH, and Pacuare is so deep in the jungle that Roberto had to transport tractors and logs there via white water raft to build the lodge. Everything about these places and the people is incredibly special. We discuss how Roberto’s vision became a reality, how the pair thinks about sustainability, and some crazy stories from the early days. I hope you enjoy this fun dive into the rainforests of Costa Rica. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/22/202141 minutes, 27 seconds
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France | Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel: A Historical Palace, Marie Antoinette, and How Paris is Always a Good Idea

I’m excited to welcome our guest today, Vincent Billiard, the General Manager of the fabulous Rosewood Hotel de Crillon in the beating heart of Paris.  With it’s official designation as a Palace Hotel - a marker of the finest service and luxury anywhere in the city, you’d think Hotel de Crillion could err on the extremely traditional side.  But it doesn’t. It has all the trappings of 5* service, along with an incredible history, contemporary design, and a sense of warmth designed to bring you in, and lull you into a Parisian state of mind.  The hotel has hosted the likes of Marie Antoinette, Neil Armstrong, Karl Lagerfeld, Woodrow Wilson, and Queen Elizabeth. While you sip your champagne, overlooking the twinkling Eiffel Tower - you can feel that you’re in the company of greatness.  Vincent and I discuss how Paris has evolved during the pandemic, how to find hidden gems in the city, and special details about the hotel.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/18/202132 minutes, 33 seconds
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Bhutan | Six Senses Lodges: Gross National Happiness, A Place Where Time Slows Down, and The Value of Kindness

Today we visit the magical Kingdom of Bhutan. My guest Sally Baughen is the General Manager of five newly built Six Senses lodges situated across five diverse valleys - rich with experiences, natural beauty, and surprising new ways to look at life. Though you can visit each lodge independently, the wellness gurus at Six Senses have designed it as a kind of journey - traveling through the country focusing outward on the experiences and culture and inward on your own experience of wellness. In Punakha you might visit locals in a rice paddy by day and focus on sleep rituals and relaxation in the evening. In Gangtey you might visit an ancient monastery and focus on mental wellbeing. Sally and I discuss the back story behind Gross National Happiness, the gorgeous hiking opportunities, and how the experience of Bhutan reminds us all to live just a little bit kinder. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/15/202140 minutes, 7 seconds
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Israel | Expert Panel: A Country of Contrasts, The Meaning of Kabbalah, and the Dazzling City of Tel Aviv

Today we’re diving into the paradox that is the country of Israel. In such a small nation you can be surrounded by tech entrepreneurs, holy men and women from multiple faiths, geopolitical conflict, world class nightlife, and natural wonders like the Dead Sea AND the Mediterranean Sea. To try to unravel some of this beautiful complexity, we have three guests on our show today. My friend and partner in the region, Yoav Gal - an expert in luxury Israel itineraries; Eyal Riess - a Rabbi in the mystical Jewish tradition of Kabbalah, and Libbi Cohen- an expert in Tel Avivian history, culture, and nightlife. We discuss everything from Israel’s new cultural revolution, to spiritual experiences in caves, to Bauhaus architecture - and of course hummus! Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/11/202152 minutes, 25 seconds
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Spain | SHA Wellness Clinic: A New Philosophy of Wellness and Life Changing Experiences on the Mediterranean Coast

I’m excited to have Alejandro Bataller with me today, to discuss his family business - SHA Wellness - a beautiful property set on the cliffs of the Mediterranean coast near the charming villages of Alicante, Spain. SHA is actually a hybrid between a top notch luxury hotel and a cutting edge medical and wellness clinic. The vision came when Alejandro’s father saw a doctor who focused on nutrition and natural therapies that cured him from a lifelong ailment. He wanted top notch treatments from many different world philosophies to be available to more people. SHA is now expanding from its gorgeous location on the Mediterranean to the Caribbean Coast of Mexico and the Emerati Riviera. Alejandro walks us through his philosophy, tells inspiring stories of recovery, and lets us in on a little secret - it’s now millennials who are driving this trend towards preventative medicine and self care. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/8/202140 minutes, 50 seconds
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Park Hyatt | Stories From the Luxury Concierge: Paris, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires

We’re shaking it up today with a panel of some of the world’s top concierges to spill some insider tidbits. In this episode you’ll visit the iconic cities of Tokyo, Paris, and Buenos Aires, and step into the glossy world of Park Hyatt - one of the top luxury brands in the travel world. Dominique Guidette, a past president of Le Clefs d’Or and top concierge at Park Hyatt Paris joins us and tells some hilarious stories of guest requests. Adrian Fautt joins us from the Park Hyatt Tokyo in the exact suite that was used for filming the famous movie, Lost in Translation; And Valeria Brauer comes to us from the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires where she once organized a trip to Antarctica for a past guest. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/4/202158 minutes, 19 seconds
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French Polynesia | The Brando: The Billionaire's Swimming Pool, The Healing Spirit of Tetiaroa, and Marlon Brando's Passion for Conservation

Today we travel to a private atoll in French Polynesia called Tetiaroa. Here you’ll find The Brando, a world famous resort composed of 35 luxury villas surrounded by a sparkling turquoise lagoon. The island was bought decades ago by Marlon Brando, who once said “Tetiaroa is beautiful beyond my capacity to describe.” So if this island left a famous actor completely speechless, imagine what it will do for you. Years later as the resort was developed, Brando’s deep passion for the island and early focus on sustainability has made the resort not only beautiful, but also completely sustainable. Our guest today is Silvio Bion, who has been managing the property since the very beginning. We discuss everything from the early days of constructing The Brando, to the special spirit of Tetiaroa, to the warm heart of the people. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
6/1/202134 minutes, 13 seconds
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Costa Rica | Expert Panel: Living La Pura Vida, Luxury in Conservation, and New Lux Lodge - Kasiiya Papagayo

Today we’re taking a journey to one of the happiest countries in the world, Costa Rica. Costa Rica has 5% of the world’s biodiversity, 99% of its power comes from renewable energy, and 98% of its population is literate. It’s certainly a country that punches far above its weight. Whether you’re coming for surfing, to see sloths and toucans, or to find yourself alone meditating in a rainforest - Costa Rica can provide it all. We have two guests today - French/Moroccan Entrepreneur, turned hotelier - Mehdi Rheljari, and Wilhelm von Breymann, owner of Costa Rican Trails and former Minister of Tourism. We discuss the barefoot luxury and breathtaking views of Mehdi’s hotel - Kasilya Papagayo, some more off the beaten path parts of Costa Rica, and of course, Pura Vida. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/28/202151 minutes, 44 seconds
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MORE Family Collection | Owner, Robert More: South African Hospitality, The Magic of Victoria Falls, and Personal Connections in the Bush

Today we’re headed to South Africa and Zimbabwe to speak with Robert More, the founder and owner of the More Family Collection. Robert’s collection includes famous safari lodges like Lion Sands and Marataba, city hotels like Cape Cadogan, and now two boutiques near Victoria Falls. Robert tells stories of growing up on the land, camping with friends, close calls with crocodiles, and community ties. It was these memories that inspired some amazing guest experiences like romantic treehouse accommodations in the bush. Being family owned and purpose driven, Robert views himself more as a steward of the land, with a responsibility to provide opportunities for those in his community and a thriving environment for the wildlife. We discuss growing up in the bush, stories of love and loss, and the special energy of Victoria Falls. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/25/202140 minutes, 33 seconds
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Alentejo, Portugal | José António Uva & Gonçalo Pessoa: Wild Beaches, Warm Generosity, and the Unique Culture of Alentejo, Portugal

In this special episode, we’re diving deep into a lesser known region of Portugal, The Alentejo. Here to discuss this hidden gem with me are hoteliers José António Uva and Gonçalo Pessoa. José was an investment banker in London before returning home to cultivate land that had been in his family for eight generations. He ended up turning part of the farm into Barrocal, a gorgeous modern farm house hotel smack in the middle cork plantations, white washed villages, and two thousand year old olive trees. Gonçalo was actually an airline pilot, staying in hotels around the world when he decided he wanted to build something special in the coastal area of Alentejo and brought the boho chic vision of his hotel, Sublime Comporta, to life. We discuss the unique culture of the region, the fantastic food, and the special things you can create when shifting from a short term to a long term mindset. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/21/202135 minutes, 2 seconds
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Lily of the Valley | Owner, Lucie Weill: Wellness in St. Tropez, Mediterranean Charm, and the Luxury of Good Health

I’m excited to have my new friend, Lucie Weill on the show today. After a career in fashion at Givenchy, Lucie left to join her father (founder of the French equivalent of CNN) to create a beautiful getaway in the South of France. Lily of the Valley is set on a cliff, surrounded by gorgeous Cypress trees, overlooking the glimmering Mediterranean Sea. While St. Tropez is known for being flashy and indulgent, here you can relax, soak up the natural beauty, and strive for that ever elusive thing we all call “balance.” Lucie and I discuss the designer Philippe Starck, Lily of the Valley’s definition of “healthy,” and how her family has been enjoying this unique slice of heaven for 50 years. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/18/202129 minutes, 52 seconds
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Russia | Greg Tepper: Subtle Romanticism, Country Dachas, and Life Changing Experiences

There’s a saying in Russian… Better to have 100 friends than 100 rubles. And until I spoke with today’s guest - I didn’t truly understand the depth of meaning in that statement. Here to discuss the country of Russia with me is Greg Tepper. Greg has spent the last 30 years opening the eyes of visitors to one of Russia’s best kept secrets - the warmth of the Russian people once you’re part of their inner circle. Greg explains how the typical stereotypes of Russians are only surface level, and how, with the right connections - you can dig deeper. You might be expecting scenes of the Red Square, Summer Palaces, the Russian Imperial Family, and Faberge Eggs when planning a trip to Russia - but it’s meeting actual Russians that will help you to understand the world, and yourself just a little bit better. And insider tip - you can’t do that without an expert at your side. Greg and I discuss everything from the Trans Siberian Railway to how to chase your vodka; from ultra exclusive experiences to Russian comfort food. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/14/202145 minutes, 45 seconds
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Casa Palopó | Claudia Bosch & Katina Jongezoon: The Magic of Guatemala, Breathtaking Views, and an Incredibly Talented Community

If you’re the kind of luxury traveler who’s always looking for hidden gems, I’ve got one for you today! We’re chatting with mother-daughter team, Claudia Bosch and Katina Jongezoon, who own and manage Casa Palopo on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Casa Palopo is a colonial style home set on a gorgeous lake, surrounded by the peaks of lush, green volcanic mountains. During a stay here you might find yourself relaxing poolside with a cocktail inhaling the gorgeous views, paragliding over the lake suspended by only a parachute, or visiting Santa Catarina and helping locals to paint their homes in bright, happy colors. Both Claudia and Katina are passionate about showing off their country to visitors and have poured some secret ingredients into this special spot - a dash of love, a cup of fine attention to detail, and a pound of enthusiasm for the local community around them. And the result, is nothing less than delightful.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/11/202137 minutes, 3 seconds
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Greece Reopens! | Canaves Oia (Re-run): How Santorini Became Famous, Secret Swimming Spots, and Lots of White Paint

Our guest on this episode is Markos Chaidemenos, co-owner and Managing Director of Canaves Oia luxury properties in Santorini, Greece. Canaves is a collection of 6 of the top luxury properties in Santorini, all set in the whitewashed town of Oia, overlooking the sapphire Aegean Sea. After a day of wine tasting, bike riding around the island, or visiting centuries old ruins you can relax in your private plunge pool with a glass of champagne overlooking one of the most iconic views in the world. At Canaves you can also be sure that you’ll have privacy and excellent service - something that’s not a given at other properties on the island. Markos and I discuss how his family played a major role in uplifting Santorini as a destination, secret spots on the island that he loves, and what to watch out for when booking in Santorini. See photos, shown notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
5/7/202128 minutes, 15 seconds
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Sonoma, California | Joe Bartolomei & Paul Sloan: 5 Generations of Sonoma, Michelin Stars, and Handcrafted Wine Making

Today we’re diving deep into the history, culture, and passion that make Sonoma County, California such a special place. While known for being the birthplace of Californian wine, Sonoma has so much more to offer. From beautifully wild coastlines and Redwood Forest groves to some of the freshest produce, oysters, and creameries found anywhere in the world. We have two guests today, Paul Sloan - owner of Smallvines Wines and Joe Bartolomei - owner of Farmhouse Inn - a family run, luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Both Joe and Paul’s families have been farming the land in Sonoma for multiple generations. We discuss everything from wine making and Michelin stars, to whale watching and weddings. Though Joe and Paul won’t say it - It’s worth pointing out that family ties and deep roots shape the experience in Sonoma vs the more corporate experiences you’ll find with their neighbors over in Napa.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com   Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/30/202144 minutes, 18 seconds
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Capella Hotels | CEO, Nicholas Clayton: Culture as a Core Value, The #1 Hotel in the World, Bali, Vietnam, Bangkok & More

My guest today is Nicholas Clayton, the CEO of Capella Hotel Group, a constellation of some of the finest hotels in the world. Whether you experience a Capella stay in Singapore or Sydney, Bangkok or Bali - you’ll be treated like a star. The team at Capella Hotels goes out of their way to help you engage deeply with the culture around you. From the design elements and local foods served within the hotel, to connecting you with locals outside the hotel. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Travel & Leisure just ranked Capella Hotels the number two hotel brand and Capella Ubud as THE number one hotel in the world. Nicholas and I discuss the brand ethos, some of his favorite details across the different hotels, hawker stands in Singapore, and more. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/27/202137 minutes, 46 seconds
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Scandinavia | Christine Cecilie Gaffney: Slow Travel, Glass Igloos, and Beyond Spectacular Landscapes

I’m so excited to have my friend, Christine Gaffney on the show today to talk about the Nordic Region of Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland, and Finland. Mention of the Nordic region might conjure up images of Vikings, Fjords, Northern Lights, and Ice Hotels - and you’ll be sure to find all of that goodness when you visit. But the key to a fabulous experience is going deeper - finding secret spots to call your own, enjoying the world class cuisine, and taking home with you perhaps the most important souvenir of them all - the sense of peace and living slowly that our friends in this region do so well. Christine and I discuss how vast this region of Europe actually is, some lesser known spots to visit, and a few wildly authentic ways to experience the wilderness. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/23/202142 minutes, 35 seconds
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Inkaterra | Founder, Jose Koechlin: A Passion for the Amazon, Preserving Machu Picchu, and a Friendship with Mick Jagger

My guest today is Jose Koechlin, the Founder and President of the iconic Inkaterra Hotels in Peru. Jose’s life's work has been to preserve the biodiversity of his country. Starting with media projects like movies and documentaries, Jose realized he could use public interest to fund deep and meaningful research and conservation efforts. Whether you stay deep in the heart of the Amazon with experienced researchers, enjoy the trappings of a 16th century home of a conquistador in Cusco, or tuck into a warm soup while bird watching near Machu Picchu - you’ll be surrounded with the friendliest of staff and all the luxury amenities you’re used to. Jose and I discuss his long term friendship with Mick Jagger, the next hotel in Inkaterra’s collection, and his deep passion for the natural world around us. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/20/202139 minutes, 18 seconds
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Croatia | Alberto Dittadi: An Insider's Dubrovnik, The Land of Truffles, and the Art of Enjoying Life

Today we’re discussing the fabulous destination of Croatia. If you’re not dying to make a visit after hearing these amazing stories, I am just not sure that we can be friends! Whether you’re sipping Istrian wines with a local, going canyoneering and white water rafting, or relaxing on a yacht while island hopping Dalmatia, you’ll certainly learn all about the Croatian phrase, Polako - meaning - slow down and enjoy life. Our guest today is Alberto Dittadi, an expert in the region and definitely someone you’d like to slow down and enjoy some Balkan wine with. We discuss insider tidbits like how to best visit Dubrovnik, secret swim spots around the islands, and the interesting differences between the American and Balkan psyche. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/16/202141 minutes, 55 seconds
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Rocco Forte Hotels | Owner, Sir Rocco Forte: A Knight's Tale, A Family Affair, and Impeccable Design in the Heart of Europe

Not only today’s guest is the Founder and Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, some of my favorite properties in all of Europe, but he’s also been Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II herself! Rocco Forte Hotels are able to achieve the very rare combination between extreme sense of place, luxury service, and amazing design. The company is also family owned and run - with Sir Rocco’s sister doing design, his son selecting locations, and daughters building the vision for bar, culinary, and spa services. When you stop into a Rocco Forte hotel, it might be like visiting a Forte family home. With everything, including much of the staff, hand selected by the family. Located in the heart of Europe’s major cities like Rome, Berlin, Brussels, and London, you’ll be hard pressed to find better locations with more interesting history. Sir Rocco and I discuss how he blends family and work, some behind the scenes stories of the different properties, and some crazy guest requests. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/13/202124 minutes, 50 seconds
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India | Jaisal Singh & Shonali Datta: Sujan Tented Camps, The Elegance of the Tiger, and a Mélange of Cultures

Today we’re heading to the magnificent country of India. With a full quarter of the earth’s population living in South Asia - a visit here is a must if you intend to understand the world today. India in particular is a continent unto itself - so different from tip to top that you could spend months here and only scratch the surface. We have two guests today, Shonali Datta - the Managing Director of Banyan Tours and Jaisal Singh - the founder and owner of Sujan - a collection of luxury wilderness camps which provide the perfect backdrop to see tigers, leopards, and reconnect with nature. Jaisal and Shonali weigh in on intriguing new experiences, misconceptions about India, and tell some fantastic stories about tigers, temples, and traditions. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/9/202151 minutes, 21 seconds
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Portugal | Luis Sousa: The Oldest Borders in Europe, Lunch with a Countess, and Undiscovered Destinations

Today we’re discussing one of my favorite destinations, the country of Portugal. This destination is chock full of so many amazing landscapes, tiny villages, charm, and fantastic food that you almost won’t believe it. Whether you’re shopping local in Lisbon with the cool kids, drinking wine under 2,000 year old olive trees in Alentejo, or noshing on a cheese plate on your private boat in the Algarve - you’ll be appreciating the one thing that makes Portugal so special - the warmth and hospitality of its people. Our guest today is Luis Sousa, a former tax lawyer turned passionate advocate of all things Portugal. Together with his wife, Luis left his job and started a company to show off all that his country has to offer. We discuss off the beaten path destinations, ungoogleable experiences, and of course some of Luis’ favorites.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
4/2/202140 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Goring | CEO, Jeremy Goring: On British Royalty, Lady Thatcher's Sense of Humor, And True Hospitality in the Heart of London

My guest today is Jeremy Goring, CEO of the famous Goring Hotel in London. While the property is a true five star gem and impeccably English, it is also the only remaining family run luxury hotel in London. Built by Jeremy’s great grandfather, Otto in 1910 - the hotel has played host to every British monarch and every prime minister since. When you stay at the Goring you’ll be pampered with some of the best service in the world, experience one of the largest private gardens in London, and soak up the history with a cocktail before dining in a Michelin starred restaurant. Jeremy and I discuss the property’s famous sheep, Her Majesty the Queen, riding in the Cardinal-mobile behind the Pope, and many more fun stories from the hotel. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/30/202132 minutes, 9 seconds
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Schloss Elmau | Owner, Dietmar Mueller-Elmau: A Contradiction in Bavaria, Merkel & Obama at the G7, and the Heart of Classical Music in Germany

My guest today is Dietmar Mueller-Elmau, the third generation owner of famed retreat in southern Germany, Schloss Elmau. The property is set at the foothills of an unimaginably beautiful stretch of the Bavarian Alps, where you can hike, bike, swim, visit castles, and enjoy the spectacular views. Then you can relax in one of the 6 world-class spas and dine in a Michelin star restaurant. But these trappings of typical 5* hotels are not what defines Schloss Elmau. We talk a lot about contradiction in this episode but after reflecting on what Dietmar says, I think the place is more about intense individuality. Each visitor experiences Elmau in a different way. For intellectuals coming to meet others in lively discussion the property boasts the biggest hotel bookstore in the world, for music lovers, Elmau is the 2nd largest promoter of classical music in Germany and hosts almost 200 concerts per year. And families, outdoor enthusiasts, spa lovers, couples - Dietmar has made it possible for you to create your own experience as well. We discuss everything from Angela Merkel to fine dining, German-Jewish relations to the ideal pool temperature, and from WWII history to the architecture of King Ludwig II. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/26/202138 minutes, 25 seconds
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Morocco | Hicham Alaoui: From Harvard to Tourism, The Ritual of Mint Tea, and the Spirit of the Sahara

Today we’re discussing the magical destination of Morocco. Whether the word Morocco conjures up golden images of the Saharan Desert, the smell of scrumptious food, or intricately designed tilework in a breezy riad in Marakesh - you’d be right. But Morocco has so much more to give. The confluence of modern infrastructure and deep historical roots means you can enjoy learning about the world and yourself by making a visit. Our guest today is Hicham Alaoui, a former Google employee and Harvard Business School student, who like me, turned his passion into his business. We discuss Moroccan culture, common misperceptions, and ungoogleable experiences.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/23/202139 minutes, 6 seconds
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Angama Mara | Owners, Nicky & Kate: A Mother Daughter Team, The Filming of Meryl Streep's Out of Africa, and The Heart of Kenya

Today’s guests are Nicky Fitzgerald and Kate Fitzgerald Boyd - the mother-daughter duo who own and run Angama Mara in Kenya. Of the thousands of safari lodges across Africa, Angama Mara is always mentioned as one of the best. If you are the kind of person who loves heart-stoppingly beautiful views, this is the place for you. Not only can you lean over your balcony and be suspended over the Maasai Mara National Park - but you can do it style. Nicky and her late husband Steve are weaved into the modern history of safari in Africa through a long career at &Beyond. Over the years the Fitzgerald’s have been responsible for launching 60 lodges in Africa and India. So with Nicky’s deep history, and Kate’s fresh perspective - they’ve created something truly special and innovative. Kate, Nicky, and I discuss how they were able to get this incredible piece of land, some insider tidbits from the filming of Out of Africa, how they continue to innovate, and the differences between safari in South and East Africa. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/19/202153 minutes, 10 seconds
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Colombia | Cristina Consuegra: For Love of Country, "Post-Pablo" Social Innovation, and Pirate Tales

Today we’re discussing one of my favorite countries, Colombia, and all the riches it has to offer. While it may have been known previously for it’s dark past, Colombia is quickly being discovered by some of the world’s most discerning travelers. It is too beautiful, too diverse, and too historical to cover in just one episode… but we give it a shot! My guest today is the lovely Cristina Consuegra, Co-owner and founder of Galavanta Travel. She’s a local to the Cartagena region and is just bursting with pride to tell you about her country. We talk about the main destinations of Cartagena and Medellin, but we also dive into some of the lesser known gems like the Amazon, the coffee regions, precolombian history and more. So sit back with a glass of wine, and envision yourself surrounded by Afro-Colombian beats, arepas and other tasty Colombian dishes, and the sound of the ocean lapping at your feet.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/16/202134 minutes, 15 seconds
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Ranch at Rock Creek | Owner, Jim Manley: A Dream Comes True, America's Most Expensive Hotel, and The Last Best Place

My guest today is a bit of a renaissance man. Jim Manley is the Chairman of Atlantic Pacific Capital… and also the VERY hands on owner of one of the top properties in all of the United States - The Ranch at Rock Creek. Located in a hidden valley, nestled against a sparkling clear creek, in the heart of Western Montana, Ranch at Rock Creek is the only Forbes 5 Star guest ranch in the world. Whether you spend your days fly fishing, horseback riding, sipping whiskey in the Silver Dollar Saloon, or relaxing in the spa - one thing is clear. Ranch at Rock Creek is a place where you can get away from it all, connect with those around you, and get back in touch with your inner child. Jim and I discuss how his childhood dream led to this magical experience, how Montana is the “last best place,” and why America’s most expensive hotel is worth the price tag.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/12/202127 minutes, 29 seconds
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Lindblad Expeditions | Founder & CEO, Sven Lindblad: National Geographic, Becoming an Explorer, and Connecting Back to the Earth

Our guest today is Sven Lindblad, Founder and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. Lindblad is the quintessential expedition company, operating 15 ships around the world and in partnership with National Geographic. If you ever fancied yourself exploring Antarctica, visiting “off the tourist track” fjords in Alaska, diving in the Galapagos with sea lions, or poking around uninhabited islands of the UK, Japan, or the Med - Lindblad Expeditions is your jam. Exploring with Lindblad means authentic, close-up experiences in some of the wildest, most remote places on the planet. But it also means luxury, comfort, ease, and learning. Your expedition leaders are the cream of the crop scientists, renowned experts, and National Geographic photographers. You have never seen the world like this. Sven and I discuss the age of exploration, some crazy adventures on Antarctica, the Russian Far East, Alaska, and more. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/9/202137 minutes, 53 seconds
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Japan | Avi Lugasi: Meaningful Tourism, Unique Experiences, and Collectivism vs. Individualism

Today we’re chatting about what I think is one of the most fascinating countries on the planet - Japan. It’s on one hand a total sensory overload and on the other hand, such a refined experience that without the very best of guides, you might totally miss the point. From owl cafes in Tokyo, to powder skiing in Hokkaido, to behind the scenes with a Geisha or Samurai warrior in Kyoto - Japan is a world unto itself. Our guest today is Avi Lugasi, a long time resident of Japan and owner of my go to partner in the country, Windows to Japan. Avi specializes in going deep - and understanding the tiny nuances of the most intricate crafts (he did after all spend 3 years in a zen Buddhist monastery and earned 2 blackbelts in archery). Avi and I discuss the ins and outs of finding excellent guides in Japan, how memorable experiences are created person to person, and how harmony is such an important aspect of the Japanese culture. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/5/202136 minutes
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Hacienda Zuleta | Owner, Fernando Polanco: Ecuador's Andean Highlands and A Tale of Two Presidents

Our guest today is Fernando Polanco, the Managing Director and Co-Owner of Hacienda Zuleta in the Andean highlands of Ecuador. Someone I’ve wanted to have on the show for a long time. Fernando is a storm of energy, and one of the most passionate hoteliers I’ve ever met. He comes from a long line of Ecuadorian patriots and Spanish explorers before that. His home, Hacienda Zuleta, was a sacred place for the Caranqui indegenous tribes for hundreds of years, the building itself was initially constructed on orders of the Spanish King, Charles the II, and THEN Fernando’s great grandfather and grandfather, both past Presidents of Ecuador, made the hacienda into their home and a working farm. If you are lucky enough to visit this slice of heaven and living history, you’ll likely meet Fernando or his Aunt Margarita. During the days you’ll horseback ride, explore the Caranqui ruins, hike, tour the cheese factory, or even visit the equator line. Then after exploring you’ll tuck into the most amazing food, enjoy a night cap by the fireplace with your friends and maybe Fernando’s dog, and enjoy a cozy night of relaxation. Fernando and I discuss why mainland Ecuador should be on everyone’s travel wishlist, the unbelievable diversity the country has to offer, and the deep history of his land, family, and how they’ve given back over the years.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on social: Instagram LinkedIn
3/2/202145 minutes, 20 seconds
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Luxury Sports Travel | Founder Roadtrips, Dave Guenther: The Serendipity of Sports, Insider Olympics Access, and The Glitz of The Monaco Grand Prix

Our guest is Dave Guenther, Founder & President of Roadtrips - my go to partner when planning luxury travel centered around sporting events. Dave’s 30 years in business gives him insider access to events like the Olympics, the World Cup, Formula 1 Races, The Masters, The Superbowl, The Kentucky Derby and more. Whatever your sport is, Dave & I can work together to get tickets before they go on sale, secure the best rooms in the most coveted hotels, and get you insider access to the VIP parties. Dave & I discuss how luxury sports travel is so much more than just visiting a stadium, the serendipitous experiences you can have at these world class events, and how the world of sports brings people together in a way that politics never could. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/26/202133 minutes, 5 seconds
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Inn at Perry Cabin | MD, Michael Hoffmann: A Slice of Americana, The Set of Wedding Crashers, and Seeing the Northeast in Style

Our guest today is Michael Hoffmann, the Managing Director of Inn at Perry Cabin. This slice of Americana is nestled into a cove on the Eastern shores of the Chesapeake Bay, near the historic town of St. Michaels. To get here, you cross the bay on a beautiful private yacht with the wind in your hair. By the time you arrive, your stress has melted away and you can truly enjoy this historic property. Whether you choose to learn sailing, go crabbing, spend time golfing, or just relaxing - you’ll leave Inn at Perry Cabin with a new appreciation for the smaller things in life. Michael and I discuss the history of Chesapeake Bay, the roaring fireplaces, a secret trap door, and a little tidbit about the movie Wedding Crashers. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/23/202130 minutes, 10 seconds
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Hermitage Bay | Owner, Andy Thesen: 365 Beaches, Antigua's Diverse Cultures, and a Reformed Financier

Hermitage is a wildly authentic collection of cottages set up against a hillside on a white sand beach, that is lapped by calm, crystal clear water. This is the place you go when you need to do nothing. After a day of soaking up the beautiful surroundings, swimming in your plunge pool while hummingbirds flit around you, or exploring the island… sounds of live music start to fill the outdoor areas and guests begin congregating to enjoy the company of each other and the warm local staff. Andy tells of his conversion from London financier to coming into his own as one of the most thoughtful hoteliers in the Caribbean. We discuss what makes Antigua so special, his philosophy on relaxation and rejuvenation, and how the team achieves such a warm, family atmosphere on property. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/19/202128 minutes, 36 seconds
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Grand Hotel Tremezzo | Owner, Valentina De Santis: The Story of an Italian Family, A Floating Pool, and Experiencing Lake Como in Style

We have a very special guest joining us today. Valentina de Santis is the owner and CEO of Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como - which is often listed as one of the top hotels in Italy. The ethos of Grand Hotel Tremezzo is too much to put in one short intro. From the crystalline waters of Lake Como, to the art nouveau palace interiors, to the floating pool, and the beautifully landscaped grounds - this has got to be the birthplace of la dolce vita. What’s more - this has been a family run hotel for over 100 years and the authentic hospitality is the stuff of dreams. Valentina and I have a hilarious chat about behind the scenes details, celebrities, history, her shenanigans growing up, and what makes Italy deserve its place as one of the top destinations in the world. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/16/202138 minutes, 8 seconds
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Turkey | Karen Fedorko Sefer: Turkey's Best Kept Secret, Ancient Troy, and Yachting on the Aegean Sea

Today we’re discussing the country of Turkey - a land that has been at the crossroads of ideals both Eastern and Western, for thousands of years. While the country is known for its historical sites in Istanbul like the Hagia Sofia, and it’s Instagram perfect photos of hot air balloons in Cappadocia - there is so much more depth to explore. From enjoying the Aegean Sea by Gulet, to sipping on world class wines, to taking a roadtrip through tiny villages, or getting off the beaten path to visit the ancient ruins of Troy - Turkey will surprise you at every turn. Our guest today is my friend Karen Fedorko Sefer who by a turn of fate moved to Turkey 25 years ago and has assembled and trained some of the best guides in the country. Karen’s company, Sea Song Tours, gets our clients access to behind the scenes experiences at some of Turkey’s most famous landmarks. Karen and I discuss Turkish culture, up and coming destinations, and of course the mind-blowing history of this fantastic destination. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/12/202130 minutes, 12 seconds
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Aqua Expeditions | Owner, Francesco Galli Zugaro: Luxury in the Amazon, Swimming with Whale Sharks, and Building Beautiful Expedition Ships

Our guest today is Francesco Galli Zugaro, the Founder & CEO of Aqua Expeditions - a truly visionary company that has led the way in melding expedition destinations with luxury. This is not your average cruising company - of Aqua Expeditions 4 vessels, the largest one has only 20 suites. Whether you find yourself diving with whale sharks in the Spice Islands of Indonesia, kayaking through floating villages in Cambodia, or spotting pink dolphins and macaws in the Peruvian Amazon… you can be sure that after your 9-5 adventure, you’ll be welcomed back aboard with the finest food, drinks, and comfortable beds that you’ll find anywhere in the region. Francesco and I discuss his camping trip in the Amazon inspired the vision for the company, how he personally picks antiques and decor for each room of each ship, some behind the scenes details, and what he loves about each destination. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/5/202142 minutes, 23 seconds
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Soneva | Owner, Sonu Shivdasani: Waterslides in the Maldives, Meeting Gwyneth Paltrow, and Founding Six Senses

If you’ve ever enjoyed a luxury, wellness, or sustainable travel experience - chances are that experience was shaped by the vision of today’s guest. Sonu Shivdasani is the owner & CEO of Soneva Resorts in the Maldives and Thailand, and the founder of Six Senses Resorts. The ideas that he’s developed over the last 25 years have forever impacted the face of luxury travel. Now as for Soneva Resorts - they are some of the finest island resorts in the world. Complete with over water bungalows, water slides, chocolate rooms, and advanced astronomy equipment. Sonu shares with me some insightful tidbits on what true luxury means for the modern traveler, the crazy story behind leasing his first island in his mid-20s, and how personal crisis has shaped today’s experience at Soneva Resorts. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
2/2/202139 minutes, 44 seconds
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Silversands Grenada | GM, Narelle McDougal: Dramatic Sunsets, Soca Music, and The Longest Pool in the Caribbean

My guest today is Narelle McDougal, GM of Silversands Grenada. Silversands was the first luxury hotel to be built on the spice island of Grenada in over 25 years. It is the antithesis to stuffy luxury set far away from the locals and boring properties that all start to look the same… and just might be the most photogenic resort in the Windward Islands. Here you can swim the longest pool in the Caribbean, walk 3 minutes down the way to a hopping beach bar, have fresh grown produce in a breezy restaurant, and lime your time away basking in the Grenadian sun. Narelle has been behind some of the most iconic hotels in the Maldives and Southeast Asia, but found herself here - on this tiny island in the Caribbean - drawn by the spirit of the people. We discuss what makes Grenada so special and some fantastic insider details about the hotel. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/29/202131 minutes, 2 seconds
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Italy | Owner IC Bellagio, Andrea Grisdale: Traveling Like a Local, Luxurious Details, And Up & Coming Destinations

Today we’re chatting about Italy, one of the most iconic destinations in the world. The country’s riches in terms of art, history, food, wine, and stunning landscapes have lured millions of visitors per year. So a true luxury experience in this part of the world means having the insider connections to get off the beaten path and experience the true heart of Italian culture. Spend your days sipping aperol while overlooking the shimmering Mediterranean sea, picking lemons from an orchard, or zooming around Rome in a classic car - all while knowing your trip is in the hands of the foremost experts on Italian travel. Our guest today is Andrea Grisdale, the owner of IC Bellagio. IC Bellagio has been designing ungoogleable experiences in Italy and curating the best guides in the game for 20 years. The company partners with top travel advisors to bring these experiences to discerning clients. Andrea and I discuss undiscovered gems in Sicily and the Dolomites, interesting stories from past guests, and how travel in Italy is changing to suit millennials and deal with crowding. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/26/202136 minutes, 19 seconds
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Heckfield Place | GM, Olivia Richli: Eclectic Art and The Elegant Simplicity of Learning New Things

I’m thrilled to have Olivia Richli on the show today, who is the General Manager of Heckfield Place in Hampshire, England. If you grew up loving Jane Austen, or reveled in Harry Potter, or binge watched Downton Abbey like I did.. This episode will fill your heart with romantic notions of the English countryside. Heckfield Place is a painstakingly restored Georgian style estate sitting on over 400 acres of rolling hills. Redefining what it means to be a hotel, Heckfield is where you go to get away from it all, be surrounded by beauty, and lavish in knowing every detail is taken care of. Everything from the artwork on the walls, to the pottery, to the grown-on-property food is locally sourced and lovingly placed. Olivia and I chat about bio-dynamic farming, the region of Hampshire, and how slowing down and taking in life is truly a skill to be cultivated.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/22/202133 minutes, 7 seconds
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Six Senses Douro Valley | GM, Nick Yarnell: The Heart of Portugal, A Philosophy on Well-Being, and Stepping Back in Time

My guest today is Nick Yarnell, the General Manager of Six Senses Douro Valley. This hotel is one you just have to see to believe. It’s set in a completely renovated 19th century manor house, high on a hill. While lounging at the pool, doing yoga, or sipping port on the patio - you’ll look down onto the shimmering Douro River flanked by lush green, terraced mountains growing some of the most under appreciated grapes in all of Europe. This is the kind of place where doing nothing but enjoying, is an accomplishment. Where learning just one new tidbit can shape the way you think about the world. Your days will be filled with stand up paddle boarding, visiting the spa, boating, hiking, or wine tasting. Then you’ll settle back in at arguably the best hotel in Portugal for a relaxed evening celebrating your day. Nick and I discuss how Six Senses takes sustainability and wellness to another level, the friendly hospitality in this region of Portugal, and the fascinating history of the manor house. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/19/202138 minutes, 47 seconds
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Uniworld | CEO, Ellen Bettridge: A Floating Boutique Hotel, Lifelong Friendships, and Bucket List Destinations

Our guest today is Ellen Bettridge, President and Global CEO of Uniworld River Cruises. Uniworld has 1200 employees and 21 ships and counting - and it’s also the first cruise line to be featured on our show. But In my opinion, sailing with Uniworld is more like being in a floating boutique hotel than being on a cruise line. While the average ocean cruise takes 5,000 passengers - Uniworld ships clock in at about 120! After you unpack and relax into one of the finest made beds in the world, you can watch the world by by from the top deck with a drink in hand, have a chef prepared dinner of locally sourced food and plan for the next day. Depending on where you’re sailing your choices will range from hiking and biking, to private history or museum tours, to wine tasting with a wine maker and more. Ellen herself is a truly involved leader - though she’s held top exec positions across the cruise industry, she told me off air that she still keeps letters from guests in her desk and sails with repeat customers every year. We discuss everything from the private art collection on board each ship, to new destinations, to the lemon chicken recipe that is Ellen’s favorite. If you’ve ever been curious about river cruising - you’ll love hearing all this detail.  See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/15/202130 minutes, 36 seconds
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UK & Ireland | Nic Butler: Behind the Scenes at the Changing of the Guard, With the Beatles' Hairdresser, Downton Abbey, and The Royal Wedding

Today we’re discussing the British Isles - known for the pomp and circumstance of the British Royals, fascinating wartime history, beautiful landscapes and villages so cute you could pinch them! The magic of the UK, Ireland, and Scotland isn’t in finding something new (it’s all, in fact, very OLD) but in discovering it in new ways and unpeeling those onion layers.  Our guest today is my friend Nicola Butler, who… in the travel world… is pretty famous for the crazy behind the scenes experiences she can organize for select clients. Nic is recognized by Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast for being one of the foremost experts in insider travel to Britain, Ireland, and France. Nic and I discuss her favorite exclusive experiences, some crazy traveler stories, and how even her parents get involved to make sure our travelers have a truly authentic experience. See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/12/202125 minutes, 15 seconds
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Necker Island | GM, Keny Jones: The Tenacity of Sir Richard Branson, A Story About Flamingos, and A Place For Inspiration

Our guest today is Kenton Jones, the General Manager of Sir Richard Branson’s islands in the BVIs which include Necker Island. Richard Branson purchased the deserted island in the late 70s. Over the next several years he built a personal retreat on the island which truly became a family home. Ideas like Virgin Galactic were born here, along with gatherings of some of the greatest humanitarians in the world like Kofi Anan and Nelson Mandela. Today Necker Island can be rented by luxury travelers as a getaway, entrepreneurial groups, wedding parties, or companies. It’s a place where the magic, the history of who’s come before, and the gorgeous surroundings play together to truly inspire new ideas and ways of thinking. Keny and I chat about how he first met Richard, some incredible stories of past guests, and what it’s like working with one of the world's most brilliant entrepreneurs. Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/8/202128 minutes, 17 seconds
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Aman Sveti Stefan | GM, Sven Van den Broeck: The Wild Beauty of Montenegro, Royalty & Tito, and Your Own Private Island

My guest today is Sven Von den Brook, the GM of Aman Sveti Stefan, a property nestled on the darling coastline of Montenegro. If you love a modern blend of history and luxury, you’ve got to add this property to your list. The hotel comprises an entire island and part of the mainland that made up a 15th century fishing village, a home of former Queen Maria, and a government run hotel in the time of Tito. Staying true to heritage, as Aman always does, Sveti Stefan renovated its rooms right into the existing structures and around winding cobblestone streets. Sven has deep roots with Aman, formerly running Amanzoe and Amanyara, but he just GUSHES about Montenegro. We discuss why this is such an up and coming destination, how the property is like a private Dubrovnik, and all the history the walls of this famous hotel have seen.  Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
1/5/202130 minutes, 34 seconds
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Il Borro | CEO, Salvatore Ferragamo: How Fashion & Hospitality Intersect, 1,000 Years of History, and The Art of a World Class Wine

Our guest today is Salvatore Ferragamo, the owner and CEO of Il Borro, an iconic estate in the heart of Tuscany. The property has a 1,000 year history and its walls have seen historical characters like the Medicis, Alessandro dal Borro, European Royalty, German occupational forces during WW2, and of course now - Italy’s most famous fashion family, The Ferragamos. Today Il Borro is an oasis of charm and is made up of a medieval village and several stand alone villas dotted along the rolling hills. You don’t come here, though, just for a hotel stay - the estate is famous for it’s fantastic wine, organic food production, extra virgin olive oil, and culinary program. Plan to come, savor the sights and tastes of Tuscany, and linger a little longer. Salvatore and I discuss what it took to restore this historical gem, why he thinks his roots in fashion have influenced his hospitality, and how he’s taking wine production back to its ancient roots.  See photos, show notes, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/30/202030 minutes, 18 seconds
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Galapagos Safari Camp | Owner, Michael Mesdag: Appropriate Luxury, Witnessing Evolution, and the World's Most Expensive Chocolate

Our guest today is Michael Mesdag, owner of Galapagos Safari Camp. Michael and his wife, Stephanie Bonam Carter bought the land on a whim almost 20 years ago, and set out to create a luxury experience that still maintains the raw beauty of the Galapagos. With just 9 gorgeous tents and a comfortable lodge - this is THE place to unwind and connect with nature. If you’re lucky enough to experience this magical setting, you’ll spend your days hiking, exploring, and snorkeling. You’ll come literally face to face with sea lions, giant tortoises, cormorants, and blue footed boobies. Then after it all, you’ll head back to camp, soak in the pool overlooking the national park, and enjoy some of the friendliest service and best food in the country. Michael and I discuss the great lengths they’ve taken to ensure sustainability, the emotions you’ll feel when you can see evolution with your own eyes, and some interesting tidbits on chocolate, guiding, and the local community.  See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/23/202030 minutes, 17 seconds
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Egypt | Owner Nubia Tours, Haytham Atwan: Relationships = Insider Experiences, What's New Post-Covid, and A Few Celebrity Guests

Our guest today is my friend Hytham Atwan, owner and CEO of Nubia Tours in Egypt. Egypt is certainly not a destination that needs an introduction, but if you haven’t thought much about it - I want you to know that it’s more than the pyramids of Giza and getting your Insta photo air kissing the sphinx. It’s a complicated country - where to see it RIGHT, you need to have relationships on your side. Otherwise you’ll miss that dinner in the home of a local and access to otherwise “roped off” areas of the pyramids, or find yourself on a crowded Nile cruise being herded around vs a private experience. Hytham and I discuss some tidbits on insider experiences you can have in Egypt, why it’s such an important destination, some Celebrity guests Hytham has entertained, and how the country is a microcosm of our wider world. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/16/202025 minutes, 48 seconds
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Royal Portfolio | Owner, Liz Biden: Silo Hotel, Royal Malewane + Where Liz Shops and How It's a Family Affair

Joining us today is Liz Biden, Owner of The Royal Portfolio in South Africa which includes some of the top properties in all of Africa - like The Silo in Cape Town and Royal Malewane in Sabi Sands. Though renowned for the GORGEOUS interiors and world class guides, Liz’s hotels are really a family affair. Her husband, Phil and her son Matthew help to run the hotels - but what you may not know is that 3 of them were actually family homes before Liz got the itch to convert them! Liz had a successful career running a fashion business in South Africa that she sold at the age of 50, and then started dabbling in hotels. Today, she’s arguably more famous for her work with these gorgeous lodges - and is well known to be one of the leading hoteliers in all of South Africa. Liz and I discuss how she hand picks each item in all of the hotels, the family philosophy behind the brand, and some fantastic experiences you might not think of when you think about a visit to Africa. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/9/202032 minutes, 54 seconds
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Chable Yucatan | GM, Rocco Bova: Haciendas of the Yucatan, The Origin of Cigars, and Mayan Rituals

Our guest is Rocco Bova, the General Manager of Chable Yucatan - a revived hacienda in the heart of the Yucatan jungle.  Each casita and villa is nestled into the Mayan jungle, and built in contemporary design using rich local woods and stone. Relax in your private plunge pool, indulge in your outdoor shower, or experience a revival at one of the best spas in Mexico.  When you’re fully immersed into this beautiful locale, you can experience one of the most impressive collections of craft tequilas in the country, sample fine Mexican chocolate, meet with and learn from local artisans, or participate in a traditional temazcal ceremony.  Rocco and I discuss how Merida is the “new” San Miguel de Allende, why visiting Chable is like coming home, and life changing moments in the heart of the jungle.    See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on social: Instagram LinkedIn
12/2/202038 minutes, 19 seconds
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Jicaro Lodge | Owner, Karen Emanuel: Buying an Island, Our Mutual Love of Nicaragua, and Why You Must Visit

Today’s guest is Karen Emanuel, owner of Jicaro Lodge in Nicaragua. Jicaro is a stunning collection of 9 villas set on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua near Granada. To get to the island you’ve got to take a speedboat and until you’re right at the threshold, you can’t even tell it’s inhabited. When you step onto this isle of tranquility you’ll see the pool set amongst boulders shining in sapphire and emerald, the tropical gardens, and smell the fabulous food coming out of the open air kitchen and restaurant. Karen herself is the consummate entrepreneur - she is also the CEO of a successful vinyl pressing company in the UK and she tells the story about how she came to buy an island, in the middle of a lake, and commence on her journey to create something sustainably beautiful. Karen and I also discuss thrilling activities in the area, Jicaro’s community projects, and why Nicaragua is a destination you NEED to visit. Jicaro Lodge is currently fundraising for Nicaraguan families displaced by the two recent Category 4 hurricanes that hit the country. Check out their page to contribute HERE.  See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/25/202028 minutes, 37 seconds
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Iceland | Owner, Iceland Encounter, Erling Aspelund: Secret Hikes, Stunning Landscapes, and How Iceland Will Recover Quickly Post Covid

Today we’re chatting about one of my favorite countries for active travelers, Iceland! While luxury in other countries may mean five star hotels and spas, true luxury in this corner of the world looks more like private guides inviting you into their homes, having parts of the other-worldly landscape all to yourself, horseback riding to a private picnic near a waterfall, or helicoptering up to hike on a glacier. Our guest today is Erling Aspelund, Owner of Iceland Encounter. After many years working in the corporate world in the US, Airling and his family traveled home to pursue their passion for travel and design a better Icelandic travel experience. Today Iceland Encounter is probably the top luxury travel company in Iceland. Erling and I discuss secret hikes, the fabulous landscapes and wow moments he’s created for travelers. We also touch on how the Icelandic culture lends itself to working together, and how that will help the country recover quickly post-Covid. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/18/202028 minutes
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Zannier Hotels | Owner, Arnaud Zannier: Creating Emotion, Collecting Antiques, and Angelina Jolie

Today we’re speaking with Arnaud Zannier, Owner of Zannier Hotels - a collection of 6 properties from the intimate Le Chalet in France, to the famed Phum Baitang in Cambodia Zannier is the epitome of luxury for the traveler who wants to feel immersed in a culture. While other luxury hotels may box out the local culture to create a sense of home within their walls - Zannier turns that on it’s head - inviting the local culture in. Arnaud comes from a famous French fashion family and owned and ran his own footwear brand. Eventually he decided to go another way and with Zannier Hotels, he created something brand new in the world of travel. Arnaud and I discuss his style and hunting for antiques. We also talk through creating emotion for guests, cover a certain celebrity guest of his, and hear what to expect next from the brand. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/11/202031 minutes, 3 seconds
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San Lorenzo Lodges | Owner, Stefano Barbini: Italian Fashion, Luxury in Pajamas, and The Pope's Mistress

Today’s guest is Stefano Barbini, owner of San Lorenzo lodges in Italy - White Deer in the Dolomites, Holy Deer in Rome, and Blue Deer which is actually a custom built, luxury catamaran that Stefano likes to call his “sea lodge.” If you like authentic travel, San Lorenzo lodges are the stuff of your dreams. White Deer is a 16th century hunting lodge, previously owned by a Bishop, that the Barbini family reclaimed. Holy Deer is an expansive apartment in Piazza Novona - which was once inhabited by a Pope and his mistress. Stefano himself had a 25 year career in fashion, and was the CEO of Escada in Italy and France. His wife, and co-owner Georgia comes from a well known fashion family in Italy as well. Leaving fashion to start anew in hospitality - they knew they wanted to do something differently.  Stefano and I discuss how he and Georgia found these incredible jewels, how they play host to their guests personally, and the secrets to discovering the heart of Italy. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
11/4/202027 minutes, 41 seconds
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Cottar's 1920 | Owner, Calvin Cottar: Moving at the Pace of Nature, How Visiting Africa Invokes Humanity, and Why Luxury Safaris are so Costly

Our guest today is Calvin Cottar, the owner and director of Cottars 1920s Camp. The Cottar family is iconic in the world of safari, as they were one of the first families to pioneer the safari experience we all now enjoy. Cottar’s Camp itself sits on the edge of the Maasai Mara in Kenya and conserves over 7,600 acres of land. While the camp is gorgeous, full of modern luxuries, and amazing service - you can tell Calvin’s passion lies in the experience and conservation of land. Calvin and I discuss why a visit to Africa is so emotional and the role these luxury safari lodges play in preserving wildlife for future generations. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/28/202018 minutes, 17 seconds
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Canaves Oia | Owner, Markos Chaidemenos: How Santorini Became a Famous Destination, Secret Swimming Spots, and Lots of White Paint

Our guest on this episode is Markos Chaidemenos, co-owner and Managing Director of Canaves Oia luxury properties in Santorini, Greece. Canaves is a collection of 6 of the top luxury properties in Santorini, all set in the whitewashed town of Oia, overlooking the sapphire Aegean Sea. After a day of wine tasting, bike riding around the island, or visiting centuries old ruins you can relax in your private plunge pool with a glass of champagne overlooking one of the most iconic views in the world. At Canaves you can also be sure that you’ll have privacy and excellent service - something that’s not a given at other properties on the island. Markos and I discuss how his family played a major role in creating Santorini as a destination, secret spots on the island that he loves, and what to watch out for when booking in Santorini. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/21/202028 minutes, 15 seconds
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One & Only Mandarina | GM, Serge Ditesheim: Stylish Tree Houses, Pueblos Magicos, and a Preview of this Yet to Open Luxurious Retreat

Today we’re welcoming Serge Ditesheim, the General Manager of the new One & Only Mandarina in Nayarit, Mexico. The One & Only Mandarina is one of the most talked about openings in all of luxury travel, set to open in two weeks on November 1st. The property will be a collection of stylish treehouses and clifftop villas nestled into the rainforest and overlooking the Pacific ocean. You’ll be able to spend your days in your private plunge pool, out surfing, or indulging in arguably some of the finest food in Mexico. Serge and I discuss what makes this undiscovered bit of Mexico so special, and how One & Only delivers luxury in a casual yet sexy way. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/14/202028 minutes, 12 seconds
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Sol y Luna | Owner, Petit Miribel: Off the Beaten Path in Peru's Sacred Valley, How the Hotel Funds Schools, and Luxury Travel with a Heart

If you love luxury with a heart, Sol y Luna is the spot for you. The hotel is a gorgeous set of little villas, decorated in rich colors and artwork, and cooks up some of the best food you’ll find in the Sacred Valley. Petit wasn’t always in the travel world - she had a corporate career first, which brought her to Peru. It was then that she and Franz realized something different was calling them - so they quit their jobs to seek it out and started a foundation in the Sacred Valley. The hotel came after, as a way to fund education for local children.  Petit and I discuss why the Sacred Valley is not to be missed on a trip to Peru, how to seek out truly off the beaten path experiences, and what it’s been like to raise a family and build one of the top hotels in Peru while staying true to her passion, the foundation. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
10/7/202025 minutes, 29 seconds
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Vermejo | MD, Jade McBride: Your Own Private National Park, 18 Years to Save a Fish, and True Service in the American West

Jade McBride is the Managing Director of Ted Turner Reserves and GM of Vermejo Park Ranch. Vermejo is set on 550,000 acres in Northern New Mexico on a spectacularly beautiful and diverse reserve. Here you can head out on adventures around property to go hiking, fly fishing, or see wildlife like bison, elk, and black bears. Then after it all, you can come back to the lodge, enjoy a world class dinner with a fine wine, and tell stories of your day around the fireplace. This is truly where adventure meets luxury. Jade and I discuss the property of course, but also his interesting philosophies about the team and how he’s built a culture at Vermejo - and how that inevitably affects your experience. We also talk about Ted Turner’s love for conservation, some wow experiences, and other cool insider tips. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/30/202030 minutes, 18 seconds
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Amangiri | GM, Julien Surget: Dinosaur Bones, Honoring Navajo Nation, and What's New at One of America's Top Hotels

Julien Surget is the General Manager of the famed Amangiri hotel in Southern Utah. Amangiri is a modern sanctuary situated among 600 acres of wilderness and isolation in the desert. Every detail of the hotel was thought through in order to honor the surroundings - from building the pool around a massive boulder, to using the desert light to play off the structures, to the 25,000 square foot spa that just exudes relaxation. Julien, of course runs one of the top hotels in the US, but is also a true forward thinker, and leader in the world of travel. After our recording, he told me that “hospitality is the noble art of hosting” and his passion for that really shines through in this episode. Julien and I discuss the ins and outs of being an Aman Junkie, why Amangiri is so special, and a few interesting tidbits on what to expect from the property next. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/11/202032 minutes, 11 seconds
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Cayuga Collection | Co-Owners, Hans & Andrea: Authentic Sustainability, What Makes a Nat Geo Unique Lodge, and True Friendship in Central America

Andrea Bonilla and Hans Fister are the co-owners of Cayuga Collection in Central America. Cayuga is a collection of 7 independently owned luxury boutiques in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama. The company employs over 450 local staff and protects 1,500 acres of rainforest. Though each property has its own unique soul - what ties them all together is Hans and Andrea’s commitment to people, service, and sustainability. They’ve managed to create a unique culture where you can experience both luxury and authenticity, creature-comforts and sustainability. We discuss what makes up the heart and soul of these gorgeous properties, what it takes to become a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, and a few behind the scenes details too. See show notes, photos, and listener perks HERE. Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/11/202031 minutes, 15 seconds
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Welcome to Luxury Travel Insider!

Introducing Luxury Travel Insider, hosted by Sarah Groen. Each week we'll chat with Icons in luxury travel to bring you insider details on some of the best hotels in the world, most interesting destinations, and top tour guides/conservationists. Our goal is to inspire you to experience the world and understand, at a deeper level, the heart and soul that goes into creating bespoke travel experiences. In this short episode I'll discuss who the podcast is for, reveal some of our amazing future guests, and tell you more about myself too. Enjoy! Learn more at www.luxtravelinsider.com Connect with me on Social: Instagram LinkedIn
9/11/20203 minutes, 33 seconds