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    A different kind of Holiday Travel

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Why You Should Consider a Family Vacation Now

     

     

    The Times Square EDITION

    The Times Square EDITION

    Area: New York, New York 

    Vibe: Cool and sexy

    Style: City

    Fun Fact: All of the suites have their own balconies 

    Don’t Miss: Paradise Club, a dinner theater/nightclub in the hotel

    Ready to take on New York City? Start in Times Square—and, while you’re there, stay at The Times Square EDITION. At the hotel, you’ll find everything from great rooms to amazing dining, and of course, perfect views of the city from almost every angle. 

    Location: Want to be in the center of the action? This property totally delivers with its Times Square location on West 47th Street and 7th Avenue. It’s easily accessible from all three New York airports—about 35 minutes from LaGuardia Airport, 40 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and an hour from John F. Kennedy International Airport. Once you’re there, it’s close to multiple subway stops, as well as walking distance to many iconic attractions like Rockefeller Center to Radio City Music Hall to the shopping on 5th Avenue.

    Vibe: Stylish and sleek, there’s a lush wall of greenery behind the reception desk—a theme that’s carried throughout the hotel, from the lobby to the guest rooms to The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens. There are 452 rooms and suites, which are outfitted in a neutral palette, with lots of white and natural wood tones. In the guest rooms, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows, while the suites all feature their own balconies. At 1,300-square feet, the Penthouse Suite is the largest of all, and along with the balcony, includes a full kitchen, soaking tub and dining area—not to mention the jaw-dropping vistas.

    Why we love it: If you’ve previously shied away from staying in Times Square, this hotel will definitely have you changing your mind. The central location aside, there is lots to rave about—starting with the dining. The signature restaurant, 701West, is helmed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and offers a variety of cuisines, with inspiration from “classical French, Asian, and Latin fare.” The restaurant itself is gorgeous, with vibrant velvet blues and greens. Another option: The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens, which are surrounded by greenery, has outdoor seating, and where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch. And for something totally different, be sure to check out Paradise Club, “a modern-day Cabaret” that starts off with dinner theater before transforming to a dance club, open till 4AM. Plus, there are lots of other amenities you’d come to expect from a great hotel, including a 24-hour fitness center (with floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound outdoor terrace overlooking Times Square) as well as space for events.

    Why Go F1rst: Book through F1S to receive a daily complimentary full breakfast for two at The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens, a $100 F&B credit to be applied in all outlets (excluding Paradise Club), a special chef amenity, as well as a room upgrade and early-check in/late check-out (if available).

    F1S Tips: For a great way to unwind, have a drink on the terrace of the Lobby Bar—the nighttime view alone is worth it (but the cocktail choices don’t hurt, either.)

    How Travel is Changing and What That Means for You

    F1S

    Virtuoso recap

     

     

    How Travel is Changing—and What That Means for You (Hint: There are Lots of Good Things Happening!)

     

     

    As you already know, like so many, many things in 2020, travel is different this year. But so is the travel industry itself. Case in point  Virtuoso Travel Week, a gathering of Virtuoso members and partners from around the globe. F1S is a member of Virtuoso, the world’s leading, invitation-only travel network, and this year, instead of the in-person gathering of the past, the F1S team and advisors took to their couches (um, we mean home offices!) and computer screens for the first-ever Virtual Virtuoso Travel Week. And we’re here to tell you: It was a huge success.

     

    “This platform provided me with the boost I needed at this stage of the pandemic,” says Rosalba Chiappetta, an F1S leisure advisor based in Toronto. “It fueled my enthusiasm for the comeback of our business and industry.”

     

    And she wasn’t the only one who felt that way. F1S advisors from across the U.S. and the world found the event super productive, giving them the opportunity to strategize with partners, hear updates from within the industry, and, perhaps most importantly, inspire them as they adapt to the “new world.”

     

    Because, after all, and as we mentioned at the start, travel does look different now. But—and here’s the key–contrary to what you might have heard, many of these changes are positive. How so? One of the most visible—and crucial: The focus on health and safety.

     

    “The most consistent theme of all my meetings was the dedication and time hotels are committing to health and safety,” says Colin Joyce, Marketing and Partnerships Coordinator. That includes measures like increased sanitization, contactless check-in, additional in-room dining options, and leaving a room empty for a full 24 hours between one check-out and another check-in. At Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, for instance, they replace the air filters in every room between guest stays, says Debbie Lopez, an F1S advisor based in New York.

     

    Plus, hotels are serious about getting staff on board with the procedures, which can help put travelers’ minds at ease. “Almost everyone I asked, whether they closed for a period or not, had given their staff at least two to three weeks of training on updated cleanliness measures,” explains Joyce.

     

    And it’s not just hotels: Lopez notes that travelers arriving in Helsinki are given a Covid-19 test, with results coming back via an app within 6 to 7 hours. While the travelers can leave the airport, they can’t board ships or visit other places until their results are in, helping to curb the spread of the disease.

    Thanks in part to these safety measures, people are getting back to traveling. But many, as can be expected, are doing so closer to home than ever before. In fact, another change many advisors noted is the increase in domestic travel.

     

    “Everyone I spoke to seemed to be seeing an uptick in domestic travelers,” says Joyce, who noted that in some European countries, hotels are now at around 60 percent capacity, welcome news when compared to rates a few months back. “Whether the property was in the U.S., Europe, or even a tropical destination filled with foreign visitors, everyone was reporting a domestic increase. Translation: people want to travel and get away, even locally.”

     

    (Check out some of our favorite hotels within driving distance of NYC.)

     

    Adds Chiappetta, “This is an encouraging sign that if locals are ready to venture in their home countries, they will be prepared to explore the world once the borders open.”

     

    Also great? While in the past, many travelers with kids stuck to summer and school breaks to head out of town—even a nearby town—remote learning has given parents more freedom and flexibility on when they travel.

     

    “If schools will be online for extended periods, then why not travel? Online classes can be done from anywhere, as long as there’s good Wi-Fi!,” says Leah Winck, an F1S leisure advisor based in L.A.

     

    (We’ve got you covered there: Our story full of ideas for school year family travel will be up shortly.)  

     

    For F1S clients, this travel comeback does come with one additional upside: Their travel advisor. As Chiappetta says, one of her favorite moments of the week was when the representatives from Dorchester’s Hotel Eden in Rome explained how trust is the new luxury.

     

    Being able to trust the hotel where you’re staying, the airline you’re flying, and the services you’re utilizing is critical to feeling safe in this new travel world. And at F1S, our advisors make that even easier. We are in constant contact with our partners, are up-to-date on the fast-moving travel restrictions and changes hitting on an international, national and state level, and are quick to communicate that with our clients, at any time.

     

    But one of the best changes we’ve seen? We saved that for last, because for us here at F1S it’s not a change at all: The movement towards further embracing diversity in the travel industry. Sheila Johnson, the CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, gave the keynote speech at the event’s closing session, and it was as insightful as it was inspiring. “A highlight was Sheila Johnson’s final thoughts on diversity, future of this business, and women making an influence,” says Linda Montemarano, an F1S leisure advisor based in Toronto.

     

    As a female and minority-owned company, First in Service was built on a foundation of diversity. It’s something we are deeply committed to and passionate about—and something that we believe gives us a unique and collaborative view of the world.

     

    As we embrace the changes in the travel industry this year and in the future, we know that our core principals of inclusivity— towards our F1S family, our clients, and our world—is one of the things that will continue to guide us forward.

     

     

     

     

    Maison Montespan Paris

    Maison Montespan Paris

    Area: Paris, France 

    Vibe: Sophisticated comfort 

    Style: City

    Fun Fact: Geared for families, there’s lots for kids to enjoy

    Don’t Miss: Relaxing on the well-appointed rooftop

    This residence in the 16th arrondissement in Paris offers the best of both worlds: A private home with all the comforts of a hotel—and we are here for it. With five bedrooms, great amenities (heated pool, gorgeous rooftop) and the opportunity to experience all the city has to offer, the family-friendly maison gives a whole new meaning to the idea of a “home away from home.” 

    Location: The home is situated in a residential neighborhood in the sophisticated 16th arrondissement. It’ll take you less than 40 minutes to get to the area from the airport, but unless you’re planning to rent a car, let the maison take care of it: They can arrange for a private car and driver to meet you at the airport and take you directly to the home. Once there, you’re close to a variety of landmarks: it’s a 10-minute drive to the Eiffel Tower and 20 minutes to the Louvre, and in the 16th arrondissement itself, you’ll find cool spots like Fondation Louis Vuitton, the Jardin d’Acclimatation and the food options along the Rue de la Pompe.

    Vibe: If you walk in and it feels like home, that’s the point. With an open floor plan and contemporary décor, the home is stylish and lux, but still comfortable and welcoming. There are 5 rooms and suites, each with their own bathroom—and the whole space sleeps 10 total. There are three bedrooms, all which are sophisticated, with fun pops of color and gold accents throughout. On the top floor, you’ll find two suites. Offering similar décor to the rooms below, the suites also include their own wrap-around balconies.

    Why we love it: We love that this home brings the lux—from the service to your surroundings—without feeling stuffy. Throughout your stay, you’ll have a butler on hand, housekeeping services, daily breakfast and afternoon tea service, with fresh pastries made by a French chef. Along with the bedrooms, the open-concept home has a kitchen, living room with a Steinway piano, dining room and elevator, as well as a heated indoor swimming pool and fitness center, complete with stationary bike, boxing bag, and treadmill. And with all that space, the home is very family-friendly. In fact, they say, “Ideally conceived to accommodate your family, Maison Montespan is designed for all ages. The safety, comfort and entertainment of your children are at the heart of our concerns.” And they really mean in: For the youngest family members, there are cribs, high chairs and other necessities available, and for older kids, there are all sorts of activities that can be arranged—from yoga classes to magic shows. Plus, if you prefer, they can switch the pool to a playroom or screening room. (And did we mention they can also arrange babysitting? Win-win.) The activities aren’t limited to kids, either. There are a whole slew of “experiences” that can arranged, whether you’re interested in food and wine, music, or taking tours of the city. Also of note: The great outdoor space. There’s a rooftop with a summer kitchen, as well as a dining area, lounge chairs and sofas and a bioclimatic pergola—perfect for enjoying the space any time of day. Looking for something different? The house can be used as an event space as well.

    Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive early check-in and late check-out, depending upon availability.

    F1S Tips: Art lovers will be impressed by all the pieces throughout the home, all created by French artists such as Laureline Galliot, Léo Caillard and Aude Herlédan. Bonus: If you fall in love with a particular piece, you can purchase it and bring it back to your own home.

    NoMad Las Vegas

    NoMad Las Vegas

    Area: Las Vegas, Nevada

    Vibe: Chic and sexy

    Style: City

    Fun Fact: There are 25,000 books in the NoMad Restaurant

    Don’t Miss: The JEMAA pool party

    If you’re ready for something new on your next trip to Vegas, here’s a great option: NoMad Las Vegas. Located inside Park MGM—it calls the top floors home—the hotel has all the makings to truly elevate your Sin City experience: gorgeous rooms, great dining led by a world-renowned chef, a weekend pool party and, of course, a casino.

    Location: A quick 10-minute drive from McCarran International Airport, the hotel is located right on the famed Strip, close to all the action. But in terms of location, this one is unique: The NoMad sits on the upper four floors of the Park MGM hotel, though it has its own private entrance, as well as its own pool, restaurant, bars and casino. Its central location means it’s easy to check out what the rest of the city has to offer, while never having to stray too far from your home base.

    Vibe: Chic and sexy, the hotel has that cool, old-world Las Vegas feel—think lots of wood, antique finishes and velvet textures in jewel-toned colors—while still feeling totally modern. There are close to 300 rooms and suites, from rooms with queen- or king-sized beds to larger suites, like the 1,200-square foot NoMad Suite and the 1,600-square-foot Suite Royale, which sleeps up to four and has its own pool table and dining room. When you’re ready to bring your stay to the next level, check out the Suite Royale Premiere, a two-bedroom, 2,000-square foot suite with a pool table, its own bar, six-person dining room and views of The Strip.

    Why We Love It: Along with the great vintage Vegas vibe and the energy of the city itself, there’s so much to love about this hotel—not least of which is the dining experience, which has Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara at the helm. The duo are also behind NoMad’s culinary offerings in New York and L.A., plus the World’s Best restaurant winner, Eleven Madison Park in NYC. In Las Vegas, the hotel is home to both NoMad Bar and NoMad Restaurant. The \restaurant is dark and sexy, with lots of club seating and velvet accents, all surrounded by some 25,000 (!) books. “The robust menu celebrates grand, clubby mid-century dining with a dash of theater—Grande Plateaus of Fruits de Mer, seasonal pastas, our signature black truffle-laced Roast Chicken, and Baked Alaska flambéed tableside,” they say. Also not to miss: The NoMad Casino, which offers “high limit” gaming like blackjack and roulette, as well as its own bar. The NoMad Pool is primed for relaxation on the weekdays—and for partying from Friday to Sunday. That’s when you’ll find the JEMAA pool party, complete with DJs, music, bottle service, and more. Along with these features, there are amenities like a spa and 24-hour fitness center, both of which are accessed through Park MGM, as well as lots of space for meetings and events.

    Why Go F1rst: If you book your stay through First in Service, you’ll receive a slew of extra amenities, including a $100 food and beverage credit, early-check and late check-out and a room upgrade, if available.

    F1S Tips: Want to relax with a spa service? You can head to the spa at the Park MGM—or have the service done right in your room. Also fun: Jazz fans should reserve Sundays for the Jazz Brunch at the NoMad Bar.

    Hong Kong Homecoming

    Hong Kong
    Homecoming

    Rosewood’s new flagship redefines the art of hospitality

    The Rosewood Hong Kong hotel opened this year as the brand’s flagship property—its twenty-sixth, including Paris’ famed Hôtel de Crillon, New York’s historic Carlyle, and the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where Rosewood first received guests on a private Dallas estate forty years ago. Despite Rosewood’s world renown, Hong Kong still holds special significance for its owners.

    FAMILY MATTERS

    Sonia Cheng’s family has owned the land at Victoria Dockside for three generations. She remembers pedaling her bicycle along the water here as a little girl, the views across the harbor to Hong Kong Island’s jagged skyscrapers and towering peaks. Long before that, it had been a key shipping terminus and railhead on the mainland, until Cheng’s family turned the centrally located promontory into a park and cultural center. So there’s a particular tenderness to her voice as she describes their newest venture here.

    “With Hong Kong evolving from a business and financial center to becoming a true global cultural capital,” says Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, “I wanted to create an iconic property that not only showcases the city’s rich history but also reflects its bright future.”

    At the epicenter of Kowloon’s business and entertainment district, the Rosewood Hong Kong is a destination in its own right. A water front promenade designed by the architects behind New York’s High Line connects the hotel to K11 Musea, an innovative office space with high-end retail, dining and art venues designed to lure young creatives. A few steps further lie the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Cultural Center, and the shopping mecca of Canton Road. A few blocks inland, a more local-style business district will satisfy even the hungriest Instagrammer.

    Inside, meanwhile, the hotel is a model of Rosewood’s residential approach to luxury and creating “A Sense of Place”. Materials varying between mineral tones and metallics dispel any notion of institutionality. The service is obliging but never obsequious. The experience is more that of a lavish penthouse than a large hotel. And indeed, the Rosewood Residences are designed for extended stays. Guestroom floors greet you at the elevators with spacious salons, where you can relax with a book before retiring to your harbor-view room or gather with friends before going down to dinner. The eight bars and restaurants offer contemporary takes on Cantonese and international flavors, and private rooms for family-style service.

    “Rosewood Hong Kong sets bold new benchmarks for design, guest experience, cuisine, and culture,” says Cheng. “Our ambition is to create a new world standard for ultra-luxury hospitality and a focal point of the vibrant Hong Kong lifestyle, reflecting its incredible dynamism, style and diversity.”