Why You Should Consider a Family Vacation Now
How Our Partners Are Keeping You Safe
How Our Partners Are Keeping You Safe
Borders and cities are beginning to reopen, and demand for travel is improving. The result: the travel industry is – slowly but surely – sparking back up. So when you’re ready to travel again, we’re ready to guide you again. Deciding how to get there and where to stay is just as important as deciding where to go in the first place. Which airline should you choose—and are they regularly disinfecting their planes? Should you stick with a car service over public transport once you land? What happens if you forget your mask? Here at F1S, our travel advisors can answer all these questions—and lots more!We partner only with the best of the best, especially when it comes to safety. And it’s no surprise our partners have stepped up in a big way. Here’s a look at some of the ways three of our select partners are working to keep you safe, across all types of travel.
“EmpireCLS has always maintained an extremely high level of duty of care to our guests,” says David Seelinger, Chairman and CEO of the company, which provides chauffeur services in more than 700 cities around the world. “While previously this had to do with the safety and security of the driving experience, the Covid situation has prompted us to extend that duty of care to providing the best possible environment from a cleanliness standpoint.”
And they are doing just that—extensively sanitizing their vehicles, car seats, and other communal items, like chargers, between uses. “We have gone above and beyond with our safety and cleanliness protocols, working with International SOS to develop new regimens, which include electrostatic spraying—which lessens the chances of the virus sticking to any surface—outfitting our vehicles with three-layer air filtration, limiting chauffeur-guest contact, and so much more,” explains Seelinger.
Among other measures, drivers wear N-95 masks, use gloves when touching guests’ luggage, provide masks and sanitizers for passengers, removemagazines from vehicles, and skipp the front seat for passengers. (For a full look, the company created a video highlighting many of these updated protocols.)
“We have been the leader in our industry in terms of developing cleanliness protocols for ground transportation,” says Seelinger. “If someone needs to be driven in a car, the ride-share services simply do not have the control [that] we do over the in-car environment or the cleanliness protocols our chauffeurs must maintain worldwide.”
Whether hopping on a plane was something you did every week for work pre-Covid, or just every few months for fun, you may be hesitant to board a plane these days. But let what Delta is doing ease your fears: “The travel journey from airport curb to baggage claim has been reimagined to provide a safer and cleaner experience, both during and after Covid-19,” explains Matt Kutches, General Manager-Global Sales, Delta Air Lines.
To that end, the airline employed the Delta CareStandard, which includes additional hand sanitizers and plexi-glass shields at boarding, cleaning communal surfaces like kiosks and security bins (they also partnered with Lysol), plus completely sanitizing—via electrostatic spraying—the entire plane. Middle seats are left empty to help with social distancing, pillows are tossed post-use, and you’ll find Care Kits filled with a mask and hand sanitizer and, on some flights, snack bags too.
Also great? Not only did Delta create a Global Cleanliness Division, but they also partnered with the Mayo Clinic. “Deepening our relationship with [the] Mayo Clinic provides additional safety and Covid-19 infection control measures for customers and employees,” says Kutches. The medical center has “developed and will oversee Covid-19 testing of Delta’s full workforce,” he says, as well as advise in a variety of other ways, from helping the customer experience team to creating an advisory council including both Mayo Clinic and Delta execs.
And if you’re still hesitant, Kutches recommends talking with your travel advisor. “Do your research, consult your travel advisor to hear more details on what initiatives Delta has deployed to keep customers and our employees safe throughout the travel ribbon,” he says.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Ready for a hotel stay—even in your own city? (Us too!) Many hotels have upped their safety game, including Four Seasons. “As the significant impact of COVID-19 on global travel became clear, we very quickly understood that our guests would want measures in place to create a safe, worry-free environment when they decided to travel again,” explains Ben Trodd, Senior Vice President, Sales and Hotel Marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “This insight helped guide the creation of our enhanced global health and safety program, Lead With Care, which builds on our already stringent health and safety measures.”
Lead with Care—which is in place in all Four Seasons properties—includes a whole range of different measures, from increased sanitizing (including use of electrostatic spraying and ozone technology) to offering contactless check-in and digital menus at restaurants to “Lead with Care kits” in all rooms, which include masks and sanitizers to (of course) mask-wearing for guests and staff. And to help manage these changes, each property now has a “hygiene officer.” Plus, similarly to Delta, the hotel partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
“Guests staying at Four Seasons also have the added confidence of being able to control the level of in-person contact and engagement they have with our team through the use of the popular Four Seasons App and Four Seasons Chat,” says Trodd. “Launched in 2015 and 2017 respectively, these well-established digital platforms are a key components of Lead With Care, providing guests with contactless service options, while still fostering connections and creating highly personalized experiences.” Guests can do things like order room service and make spa reservations and, when chatting, real people—on the property where you’re staying—are behind the responses, and they can answer you in upwards of 100 (!) different languages.
“While I can’t speak to other brands, guests should have no hesitation when considering a [stay] at a Four Seasons right now,” says Trodd.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos
Area: Los Cabos, Mexico
Style: Sleek and laid-back
Fun Fact: With chef Nobu as a founder, expect amazing food
Don’t Miss: Lounging by one of the resort’s four pools
When you’re ready for a beachfront escape, here’s a new choice to top your list: Nobu Hotel Los Cabos. The first hotel in Mexico for the Nobu Hospitality team— whose founders are chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert Deniro and actor/producer Meir Teper—the resort offers everything from amazing dining (of course) to multiple pools to lots of wellness options, all against a stunning ocean backdrop.
Location: Situated on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, this resort in Cabo San Lucas is on El Suspiro beach—and has the amazing views that you’d expect from its waterfront location. It’s located inside the Diamante complex, which includes a world-renowned golf course and lots more—and it will take you about 45 minutes to drive to the hotel from Los Cabos International Airport. Once there, you’re about half an hour from most of the off-site activities and attractions, including the famous El Arco and the marina.
Vibe: Sleek and sophisticated, this design-forward hotel offers lots in the way of, as they describe it, laid-back luxury. Expect lots of wood, stone and wood tones, all against a neutral color palette. There are 200 guest rooms and suites, with some overlooking the water and others with views of the nearby golf course. The “deluxe room swim-up,” which opens right up to the pool as well as the Zen Suite and Sake Suite, both of which have ocean views. The two-bedroom Nobu Suite, which is over 2,600 square feet, boasts a chef’s kitchen, pool table and wrap-around terrace that looks onto the water. Pro-tip: When deciding where to stay, head to the hotel’s website where you can take a 360-degree tour of the room or suite and really get a feel for each.
Why We Love It: You’ll find everything you need to relax at this hotel—from great pools to amazing dining options. Let’s start with the dining. With renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa as one of the founders of Nobu Hospitality, you can expect that the food will be top notch. At Nobu Restaurant you’ll find the Japanese fusion cuisine that Nobu is famous for, as well as two bars, all with the ocean in the background. Malibu Farm is a farm-to-table restaurant offering organic choices for all three meals, and at Pacific Restaurant you’ll find “fine dining Mexican concept with a-la-carte service and traditional taco & mezcal pairings.” Rounding things out are Cortez Swim-Up Bar and Playabar, offering drinks and food poolside. Speaking of pools, there are four at the resort, including an infinity pool. Other amenities to check out: On the wellness end, the spa includes a salon and a fitness center with yoga and spinning classes. Plus, there are lots of other activities, like beach volleyball, a Kids Club that offers yoga, origami and face painting for the younger members of your group, as well as golf, including access to the nearby Diamante: The Dunes course.
Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive a complimentary breakfast for two throughout your stay as well as one complimentary lunch for two. Plus: early check-in and late check-out and an upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: You won’t have to leave your four-legged family members at home: the hotel is pet-friendly and offers amenities like pads and bowls.
Cultural Heights in Botero’s Colombia
Cultural Heights in Botero’s Colombia
A Feast for the Eyes and Lips
If you’re traveling to Colombia on business or looking for a unique side trip adventure from Miami, you might opt for Bogota, a place of dichotomy, where passionate culture meets passionate food. In the central city streets, you’ll find women dressed like supermodels on a runway and men in tailored jackets but also easy trekkers in the greener areas and locals attending church services on Sunday. Because Bogota is filled with colonial style buildings and hidden spots, and the geography is vast (with areas varying in safety) start your planning through your hotel.
Our top choice for accommodation is the Four Seasons. Choose the Four Seasons Bogota for impeccable service or the Four Seasons Casa Medina with its romantic gardens, patios, and hanging flora. Perhaps take a night in each location, to experience difference sides of the city.
CHARTING THE COURSE
Once you’ve landed, you can chart your course. You can have the concierge book a taxi straight away to the old center to the Botero Museum — located on a full art block that includes the Centro Cultural Gabriel Garcia Marquez — and will feed you a feast for the eyes that will pepper your senses.
An absolute ‘Must See,’ the Museo Botero features over a hundred works of the artist — considered perhaps the most important Latin American artist of all time and “the most Colombian” — as well as some paintings from Dali, Chagall and French impressionists (208 pieces in all.) Botero — known for figurative “oversized” personas in paintings and sculpture, he has often been considered a political artist, showing the state of the common man in his surroundings. However, in press interviews he has countered this, stating he works intuitively, without preconceived symbolism. To see such quantity of Botero’s paintings in one space connects the viewer to him on a personal level, for a larger than life experience, seeing Colombia through the eyes of Botero’s personages. Presented with narrators of the place you’re standing in, the art comes to life from the walls.
The magic will stay with you as you descend back onto the streets at dusk, where you can opt for some local ceviche at Central Cevicheria (camarones y calamares) if you’ve got energy to burn or head back for more classic fare — a steak or pasta — at the Four Seasons Restaurant.
Immersing in the richness of the city
Wake up early the next morning, to take the funicular tram (10,341 feet) up Mount Monserrate, the hill — or rather mini mountain — by 9 am or so. It’s a ten minute mount. You might catch the mass at a church there or walk with the locals through the gardens. The view of the city below is breathtaking. (Pro Tip: Stay hydrated, since water evaporates at such high altitudes.)
You’ll be hungry when you get back down the hill to La Candelaria again, to join the line at a deceptive but delicious famed hole in the wall called La Puerta Falsa, where you can indulge in hot rolls, chicken tamales, and hot chocolate before shopping treasures in the numerous side shops.
Local vendors here sell beautiful jewelry and other crafts. There are “ruanas” — thick often striped ponchos — often created by communities of families over generations and “sombreros veultaios” official Colombian style hats with geometric patterns. They are created by the Zenu tribes in the North but are worn throughout the country. You might also snag yourself a colorful “mochila wayuu” or sack like handbag made of wild cotton, maguey, alpis and other natural fibers twisted into “S” and “Z” patterns, in bright tangerine, lemon, cherry and turquoise. Each one takes roughly three weeks to create. There are leak proof “werregue” bowls made from palm trees (and exclusively by women) as well as “guacumayas” baskets, assembled from colorful woven rolls. Purchases aid residents who rely on such traditional crafts to survive. So you can dress yourself into a rainbow and help people at the same time.
Eating like a Bogotano
Now that you look like a native, it’s time to eat like one, starting with appetizers —a wonderful creamy burrata at Delucca Restaurante — and crisp white wine. Or perhaps drinks inside what looks like the inside of a slot machine at Andres Carne de Rez (Chia) with some tacos at Cantina y Punto, a laid back Mexican joint. Or follow up with a meal at Club Columbia, where you can taste an array of delectable ceviches, rice dishes, chorizo, steaks, and salads. You might want to try the organic fare of childhood friends Tomas Rueda and Juan Pablo Tomás Rueda (from lamb chops, sausages, asparagus, to artichokes and cheese sauces) at Donostia, with its chic black and white decor. Bistro El Bandido features French fare (grilled prawns, croque monsieur, and coq au vin) as well as live music. At Salvaje, you’ll feel as though you’ve gotten lost in a jungle — with wall hanging flora — as you feast on plates of salmon and mushroom fried rice, avocado and cheese enhanced dishes, and roasted meats. At the end of your trip, you’ll end up boarding the plane stuffed but happy, just like one of Botero’s muses.