A Mayfair Hotel with Curb Appeal: The Beaumont London

If you were playing Monopoly® in London, Mayfair would be your Park Place. And if you were to put a hotel on that square, it would undoubtedly be The Beaumont. And for that you would be well rewarded every time an iron or a shoe landed on your spot as Mayfair has always been and remains one of London’s most exclusive neighborhoods.

The Beaumont makes an impressive statement in this historic location. The hotel opened in 2014 following an extensive redo that turned the former 1926 car park into one of London’s most fashionable addresses. The property, with its 73 rooms and suites, offers a post modernist imprint amid the precious Georgian residents of Mayfair – many bearing blue insignias by the entrance to note their historical significance as the former home of a great statesman or musician.

A Hotel in Mayfair with History and Punch

You’ll find The Beaumont on a quiet square in Mayfair, just a few minutes’ walk away from Selfridge’s and overlooking Brown Hart Gardens. Find iconic Hyde Park to the west and the ultra-trendy West End to the east. More energetic walks might mean Kensington Gardens, adjacent to Hyde Park, or the fashionable Bond Street, a 20-minute walk away.

The 70-odd streets that make up Mayfair area of London deserve some exploration of their own, however. A tour with SideStory of the hidden art galleries and world-renowned museums located nearby, or explore the home of George Frideric Handel, a museum now; or the last house occupied by all four Beatles. The beautifully preserved streets and alleys lead to hidden squares and eventually to Shepherd Market, now a buzz of restaurants, cafes and bookshops.

The area, once owned and eventually developed by the Duke of Westminster in the mid 1700s, saw a succession of earls and dukes, landed gentry and wealthy bankers take up residence as Mayfair evolved. The prime real estate in the shadow of Buckingham Palace was the early home of Queen Elizabeth II. Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia was born there in 1945. Grosvenor Square was the site of the former American naval headquarters, where General Dwight D. Eisenhower planned D-Day, near the current site of the U.S. Embassy.

A Hotel in Mayfair with a Mélange of Styles

Within this spirited history, the design firm of ReardonSmith Architects transformed The Beaumont from an Art Deco-era garage into an intimate destination redolent with the style of a refined and casual 1920s establishment under the strong direction of the hotel’s founder Jeremy King, who invented the back-story of a disenchanted New York hotelier called Jimmy Beaumont, who moves to London in the mid-twenties to open his eponymous hotel.

The Beaumont is an art deco building and its interiors are Art Deco, with some decorative elements from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The Beaumont’s exquisitely chiseled interior details put the guest in these colorful former times from the moment of arrival, from the entrance hall to the bar, to the restaurant, and staircase behind sweeping down to the spa and private dining room.

Guestrooms are enriched by Art Deco features, from the design of the ceiling cornice in the bedrooms to the tone of the glass bathroom tiles and the traditional bronze light switches. Sliding timber-veneered doors draw across the bedroom spaces in most accommodations to create complete bedroom privacy from the bathroom, foyer, wardrobes and dressing room.

A Hotel in Mayfair with Living Art by Antony Gormley

British artist Antony Gormley, whose haunting sculptures grace parks and popular public galleries and buildings all over the U.K., Europe and the U.S., was invited to use The Beaumont as a canvas to create a living work, called ROOM. It pushes out from the face of the Beaumont’s exterior to become a room of its own – a veritable cathedral in a cubist block design that makes a statement and invites curiosity.

Inside, the artist has created a cave-like space, a three-dimensional sphere of darkness: a state of consciousness that approaches enlightened as the occupant looks up through the room’s levels. In keeping with The Beaumont theme, the sitting room of Gormley’s one-bedroom suite is decorated in an Art Deco motif.

Another in-demand suite is the Beaumont’s Roosevelt Suite, which can be opened up to expand into a five bedroom, moving from a one-bedroom configuration of 1,820 square feet to become a five-bedroom villa of 6,525 square feet. The Art Deco theme continues, calling up the glamorous era of the great Transatlantic liners of the 1920s and 30s with cream lacquer paneling, brass inlaid details and parquet timber floors throughout. The roomy sitting area leads to a separate dining room that seats eight, plus a pantry kitchen and a guest bathroom, The suite opens up to a large, wrap-around terrace overlooking the London. The five-bedroom expanse occupies the entire fifth floor of the hotel for an experience of total privacy for guests that desire added privacy. Added extras: a working fireplace, a large marble master bath with heated flooring, and a private lobby.

Colony Grill Room: All the Rage of an Era

Good rest requires good food, and even the libations and sustenance at The Beaumont are in character with the era. The Beaumont was the first hotel project for the talented restaurant team of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (The Wolseley, the Delaunay, etc.). They created the Colony Grill Room with an intriguing menu of 1920s faves. Order lobster à la Russe, a Yankee hot dog, an Arnold Bennett omelette, or a chicken pot pie, and top it off with red velvet cake or a build your own classic ice cream sundae. The eclectic wine list promotes European classics and includes a wide selection from the New World.

Interior areas for dining and sipping are, indeed, “you are there” in detail and style, putting guests not only in place, but in time for a true taste of the “roaring twenties” in London. For venturing out, reserve the Chauffeur-driven courtesy vintage Daimler.

Classic room bookings include morning coffees & teas plus home-made viennoiseries and preserves, served in the Cub Room, as well as hi-speed Wi-fi, local calls, all movies, and soft drinks & snacks from the in-room minibar.

Book the ROOM package for 1575 GBP per night to stay in Gormley’s masterpiece. The package includes: a 3-hour individually tailored, one-on-one guided walking tour of London’s best contemporary art galleries; a limited edition signed copy of Antony Gormley’s monograph on ROOM with an essay by Margaret Iverson; a private ride in the hotel’s vintage Daimler to the first gallery on your tour’s list; a full English breakfast for two; private in-room bar with soft drinks and snacks; Wi-fi; access to the hotel’s spa and 24 hour gymnasium.



The Beaumont
Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair
London W1K 6TF
Toll-free: (+44 20) 7499 1001
(+34 952) 93 78 00


Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.








Pay 2, Stay 4 Offer at Song Saa Private Island

Take advantage of a special offer on a tranquil Cambodian paradise. Pay 2, Stay 4 for all bookings made by September 30th for stays Sep. 1, 2017 – October 21, 2018. The resort’s 27 villas were built with sustainable materials and with the deepest respect for the natural environment and thoughtful touches include sunrise yoga, in-villa movie evenings, rainforest encounters and more.

Valid for all bookings made by September 30th for stays Sep. 1, 2017 – October 21, 2018 ~

TERMS: *Applicable for All Inclusive & Bed/Breakfast bookings. *Blackout Dates: 18–27 NOV 2017; 20 DEC 2017 – 10 JAN 2018; 10-21 FEB 2018; 29 MAR – 9 APR 2018; 13-20 APR 2018, 1-9 OCT 2018 *Promotion applies to bookings deposited before 30 SEPT 2017. Extensions are not allowed. *Valid for new requests and new bookings only. *Fully pre-paid, non-refundable, no date changes, no upgrades. *Confirmations are provided only once deposits are received. *Valid for Worldwide markets, children, & extra adults. *Not valid for special benefits such as VOS, Traveller Made. Benefits available at 20% off menu. *Maximum of 5 villas per night per booking allowed. Not valid for contracted groups. *Bookable direct or via DMCs. *Maximum 15% commission available pre-tax & service fee. *Cumulative as Stay 8 Pay 4. Not valid for Stay 6 Pay 3.

Song Saa Information >>



Great Plains Conservation Photography Tuition Specials

Wild Studio Photography Workshops are an innovative format of learning photography. Dates from November 2017 to April 2018 at Kenya and Botswana camps enjoy up to 25% off of 4-7 night fixed date workshops.

Duba Expedition Camp – Botswana

4 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition – $3 160 per person sharing
20th to 24th November 2017

Selinda Camp – Botswana

5 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition, per person sharing – $3 950 per person sharing
19th to 24th February 2018
5th to 10th March 2018
17th to 22nd March 2018

Mara Expedition Camp – Kenya

5 Nights – Wild Studio Photography Tuition, per person sharing – $3 864 per person sharing
19th to 24th February 2018
27th March to 1st April  2018
2nd to 7th April 2018

ol Donyo Lodge & Mara Expedition Camp

7 Nights -Wild Studio Photography Tuition, per person sharing – $5 761 per person sharing
(3 nights ol Donyo Lodge + 4 nights Mara Expedition Camp)
9th to 16th February 2018
17th to 24th March 2018


Minimum of two guests,
Maximum of four guests per vehicle
Ranging from 4 to 7 nights
Vehicles specially fitted out with supports and bean bags
Internal flights not included
Savings of up to 25%
Hosted by a professional photographer throughout
No single supplement on dates where at least two other guests are booked.
Payment of double required if sole attendee.
Courses personalized for all abilities and levels
Non-Photographers are welcome and will enjoy themselves and the game drives
due to the special format of the workshop.


An innovative format of learning photography. We develop a brief with you, just like a professional will be given from their publisher, and the workshop is then about finding those shots and building a portfolio.

Workshops are based at Selinda Camp and Duba Expedition Camp, Botswana and ol Donyo Lodge and Mara Expedition Camp, Kenya.

Wild Studio has fixed date workshops from November through to April.

Private tuition is available in all our camps throughout the year and is available on request.

The tuition is aimed at all abilities and even accommodates those wanting to improve their photographic skills with smartphones!

We also welcome non-photographers who are able to enjoy game drives on the workshops with our photographic tutors being able to balance the game drives to accommodate.

Why join a Wild Studio workshop or private tuition?
The experience is totally unique and a lot of fun.

We guarantee that you will come away with images from your safari that you will be exceptionally proud of to share with your friends, family or even the rest of the world on social media.

Please contact wildstudio@greatplainsconservation.com  for all photography enquiries and info@greatplainsconservation.com for bookings.

Learn more >>


The Siam Bangkok Special Offer

Experience all your senses at The Siam this fall with The Siam Senses Package. Book a three night stay at the Best Available Rate and receive:

Complimentary upgrade to the next category at the time of booking
60-minute body massage for two at Opium Spa & Wellbeing
Thai set lunch or dinner for two at Chon Restaurant (Thai Tasting Menu)
Daily breakfast for 2
Butler Service
Complimentary Wi-Fi property-wide & in-house movies
Complimentary local call
Daily fresh tropical fruit
Private cruise between the hotel and Bangkok’s central Sathorn pier

Valid until December 23, 2017

Learn more >>



Mayfair 4 for 3

Take advantage of The Beaumont’s Four Nights for Three offer to spend some more time exploring London and the Mayfair neighborhood.

Stay 3 nights plus one night complimentary.

Rooms from £480/night for 3 nights, plus one night complimentary
Studios from £760 /night for 3 nights, plus one night complimentary
Suites from £1,295/night for 3 nights, plus one night complimentary

The ‘4 for 3’ rate is available for stays 7th October to 29th October 2017.
With this package you will be treated to a number of complimentary amenities:

A ‘Help Yourself’ morning coffee, tea, juices, home-made Viennoiseries and preserves in The Cub Room
A private in-room bar with soft drinks and snacks
Wifi throughout the hotel
Use of the hotel’s vintage Daimler for local trips (subject to availability)
Use of the Spa and Gymnasium throughout your stay.

Learn more >>



Faena Hotel in Miami Beach Brings New Depth to Design Hotels

The word “Faena,” heard most emphatically in neighborhoods fanning from the blinding white sands lining Miami Beach, could be another term for fantastical, improbable. It stems from one unstoppable Alan Faena, creator of the new Faena Hotel Miami Beach and the energy behind the increasingly famous Faena District.

The five blocks of Collins Avenue in the Mid-Beach section of Miami Beach are now part of a re-imagined metropolis of architectural icons and showcases of progressive arts and culture as conceived and developed through the eyes of one of Argentina’s hottest exports.

Alan Faena and business partner Len Blavatnik opened Faena Hotel in Miami Beach in December of 2015 and have not looked back. The property – called by some a palace, others a museum and still by others, a cathedral – anchors a $1.2 billion, seven-block parcel in a formerly run-down section of the city that now thrives as a place to experience music, art, theater, poetry and urban wonder.

Faena District Miami Beach

Faena Hotel Miami Beach is complemented by the Faena House condominiums (designed by Foster + Partners and featured one unit that recently sold for a record $60 million). Also in the mix is Faena Forum, a 42,000-square-foot swirl of a space for exhibitions and performances that was designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA. Faena Bazaar is a grand bazaar of vendors and crafts people, to connect these spaces, and the mélange also includes Casa Faena, a 50-room circa-1928 historic Mediterranean-style manse with some of the best Sunday brunch menus in the city.

Alan Faena, famous for creating Faena Hotel in 2004 in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, which transformed seedy dockyards into a booming borough of high style, edgy architecture and artsy entertainment, found a perfect palette for his visions in Miami Beach – one of the three locations for  the annual Art Basel fests (the others are Basel, Switzerland and Hong Kong). The celebration presents work from some 300 leading international galleries from more than 30 countries over a few days, attracting some 100,000 art aficionados, appreciators and connoisseurs (the next spectacle is scheduled for early December).

But it all would start with the hotel: Faena Miami Beach would have to be a statement in its own right. Faena took the former Saxony Hotel, once a veritable second home for the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra, and a favorite getaway for Marilyn Monroe, and turned it into a 169-room stunner with input from director and producer Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Australia) and his wife, the production and costume designer Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby).

Miami Chic: New Definitions

Today, the interior designs guests will find might defy definition. Words like fantastical, daring, extravagant come to mind as guests wander through spaces that may have started with an Art Deco swoosh and ended up with layers of theatrical design flares.

Drawn into the lobby, guests may be entering a modern museum or the imagined palace of Cleopatra. A walk along a central red carpet runner (shocking reds are a theme in Alan Faena’s bright design schemes) passes golden columns, a beveled recessed-lit ceiling and lush floor-to-ceiling murals by Argentine artist Juan Gatti evoking exotic fantasies of jungle utopias. Walls of glass ahead flow into a garden patio and beyond, a golden woolly mammoth skeleton sculpted by Damien Hirst.

There are rooms and spaces for every occasion: a designated quiet room called The Library, for checking email on a red velvet lounging couch; The Living Room area that looks like an Art Deco movie set with a huge Alberto Garutti chandelier rumored to sputter slightly when lightning hits the Pampas plains in Argentina. The hotel features a 150-seat cabaret-style theater inspired through its red velvets and glinting golds to summon thoughts of the opulent opera houses of Europe.

Two restaurants and some seven bars each bring on their own sense of the dramatic. Pao infuses Asian influence from the Far East and Philippines through the work of celebrated chef Paul Qui in a space of re-imagined greenery crowned by a golden unicorn, another oeuvre by Damien Hirst. Los Fuegos, by Argentine grillmaster Francis Mallmann, brings creative Latin influences and keeps the show aglow from the open-fire kitchen. Meanwhile, the Saxony Bar leans into the classic Greek revival/modernist/Art Deco design blends and serves up old fashion cocktails from golden ages past.

Faena’s spa, Tierra Santa Healing House, provides its own signature of shades of Miami teals mixed with Faena reds accenting sumptuous couches and chairs in the lounging areas and intriguing treatment room designs. Spa guests relax amid fantasy wall murals and on private terraces overlooking the beach. The menu features cleansing and purification treatments by staff specially trained by an authentic Mexican healer, and these selections can also be paired with Balinese sound bowl healing sessions.

The beachfront property overlooks a 100,000-square-foot swath of warm sand and blue ocean, painting Miami Beach with classic red and white striped umbrellas.


Faena Hotel: Latest Beds of Miami Beach

Accommodations, too, are treated to teals, pinks, whites and reds with 18 configurations of rooms and suites (there are 111 suites in the mix), many featuring generous balcony spaces over the blue waters of Miami Beach. Room quarters run from the 489-square-foot Bay View option ($525/night) to the 4,515-square-foot Faena Suite ($20,000/night) with four king bedrooms and more than four bathrooms, to the Penthouse Suite ($50,000/night) at 14,507 square feet, which has four king bedrooms with two master bedrooms, five full and four half bathrooms, wrapped oceanfront views, full kitchen and a large living room with a grand piano. All room choices benefit from the added luxury of dedicated guest managers and butlers.

A full schedule of performances, regular and special, are listed on the Faena’s website within categories labeled Art & Culture, Experiential, Gastronomy, Mixology, Music and Wellness. For those ready to go, Faena District anchored by Faena Hotel will be the only destination in Miami Beach they will need to know.



Faena Hotel Miami Beach
3201 Collins Avenue
Faena District Miami Beach, FL 33140


Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.





Sweet Bocas: Luxury Vacation Villa in Panama with Perks

A luxury villa for a vacation in Panama can be a daunting gem to find and may mean digging up a lot of rough dirt before finding your piece of gold. There are lists of B & Bs and home rentals in Panama but taking a chance on a weeklong vacation rental in Central America may not be the best expense of time, even for the perceived savings, given the cascade of things that can go wrong. One luxury villa in Panama is a sure bet, especially for families and friends who want to spend a week in Sweet Boca bliss.

Sweet Bocas, a seven-bedroom manse over Caribbean waters off the coast of Boca del Toro province in Panama, has all the perks and none of the problems of a vacation well planned, especially if that vacation should seek to involve sun, beach, yoga, adventure and relaxation, extreme comfort and pampering, and plenty of excellent food.

Guests are not only on their own tropical island they are in their own tropical island resort. Sweet Bocas can only be booked by one group or family at a time and segments its bookings in week-long immersive vacations that allow guests to unwind, smell the coffee, pick the fish and pet the sloths.

Luxury Vacation Villa in Panama: Overwater Perfection

At this luxury vacation villa in Panama find seven bedrooms decked in Panamanian teak and dressed in local weaves, textures and stories from local villages and tribes. Water is everywhere, below and surrounding the villa, which suspends above the surf in 100 columns. A wooden bridge connects the vacation villa to the main island stage where a lake is there for swimming and floating (private pontoons float guests for a super relaxing treat – and the Sweet Bocas spa conducts massage sessions in this floating dream setting). An infinity pool built into the sea creates another design-forward way to salute the sun (salt water or fresh water by request). Two outdoor bamboo bedrooms (not part of the seven counted in the mansion layout) are also available for guests who want to sleep under the stars at night in divine comfort.

The luxury villa surrounds guests with 20,000 square feet of airy design, bedrooms that open onto the Caribbean with private decks and day beds, an entertainment area and library with more than 250 books and 1000 videos and multiple thousands of tunes and music set up on the Bang & Olufsen sound system, and plenty of sumptuous public and free flowing space to wander.

Rooms are air-conditioned, Wi-Fi is pervasive, and dining in a villa where all pampering is personalized can be sweet, indeed. Guests can handpick the produce they want prepared in the acres of organic garden spots dotting this private isle. They can even work with local fisherman to select desired gifts of the sea to be prepared by a dedicated world-class chef. Food is all too important at this resort, conceived, built and operated by a former Montreal restaurateur.

What to Do with a Week in Panama

A week long luxury vacation in Panama, however, can be filled up quickly with a menu of activities, many complimentary, that Sweet Bocas can offer …. beginning with use of the villa’s 30-foot yacht. Staff is available to take guests to top snorkel and dive spots (Bocas del Toro is a hidden secret amid divers — it offers a great diversity of aquatic life around its islands and due to calm conditions is an ideal place for experienced divers as well as those who want to learn) or around the extensive archipelago of uninhabited islands for intriguing discovery.

Guests can snorkel, SUP, canoe and kayak around the property, even enjoy a moonlight snorkel or dive. World class surfing surrounds the archipelago, where different reefs are favorites of intermediate and advanced surfers. Guests can also order up a yoga class, meditation session or massage treatment; even indulge in complimentary cooking classes. Kids can have their share of hands-on art classes, treasure hunts and nature challenges created by doting villa staff. There are bat caves to be explored, beaches buried in curious starfish to discover, and great surfing spots to waiting. The array of activities is so vast that guests have stayed over two weeks and experienced new adventures each day.

Treasures of Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro’s largest city is Bocas Town, a village really. It attracts guests and visitors with its quaint and walkable streets, its restaurants serving piquant soup from fresh catches, souvenir shops and clothing boutiques, and scenic people and harbor watching spots. Small shuttle boats ferry passengers among islets and attractions in an area otherwise famous mostly as the local landing spot for Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1502. Bocas del Toro is practically a stone’s throw from Limon Province in Costa Rica, connected by an old railroad bridge between Guabito in Panama and Sixaola, Costa Rica.

The province of Bocas del Toro encompasses two national parks: Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park and La Amistad International Park, both great for hiking, biking, and bird watching. Should guests need a sloth hug, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute operates a research station on Colón Island just northwest of Bocas Town, which studies the three-toed pygmy sloth found only in this region. In the right seasons turtles come to nest on the beaches of Bocas del Toro Marine Park.

Traveling to Sweet Bocas

Getting to Sweet Bocas can be a sweet part of a luxury vacation in Panama as well. Guests can arrive via commercial airline from Panama City (PTY) to Bocas del Toro International Airport (IATA: BOC, ICAO: MPBO) in 50 minutes or less. They can fly in by private plane to this airport. They can sail to Sweet Bocas by private yacht and anchor on the property. They can go the adventurous way and take a ferry from Almirante. And they can fly in directly from San Jose International Airport in Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro.


Sweet Bocas
Address: Bocas del Toro
Tel: (516) 554-1415
Email: info@sweetbocaspanama.com
Website: sweetbocaspanama.com

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.




Savoring Southeast Asia: Two Tempting Hotels with Local Allure

Some of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia can be found in the burgeoning and buzzing capital cities. If a hotel can bring on a wowing experience of an exotic destination, The Siam Bangkok and The Reverie Saigon will be perfect choices.

Exploring an Asian destination should mean eschewing the American-branded cookie-cutter chain hotel and sleeping someplace completely unexpected. For luxury travelers with discerning tastes, this choice should be based on design statement, location, over-the-top amenities, location experiences that cannot easily be found elsewhere, and amazing surrounds in the public spaces, accommodations, grounds and restaurants.

In Southeast Asia, even for luxury travelers, the best hotels in Southeast Asia can often be enjoyed for a fraction of what a luxury hotel experience would cost in the United States or Europe. Hospitality in Southeast Asia usually includes an amazing breakfast feast with all manner of local and international delicacies for a good start on the day. And these properties can usually be found in some of the best locations to be had in Southeast Asian cities, overlooking an iconic river and close to scenic locations for shopping and dining.

Savoring Southeast Asia: Best Boutique Hotel in Bangkok

The Siam in Bangkok is a Southeast Asian treat, a one of a kind moment on the River of Kings with a special history, stellar location and stunning design sensibilities.

Located in the royal Dusit neighborhood, a stone’s throw from the Grand Palace, the 39-key luxury hotel was created by rock star legend Krissada Sukosol Clapp using his family’s Sukosol luxury hotel brand.

The property spreads along the banks of the Chao Phraya with a sparkling lap pool and grassy lawn leading up to a private dock where guests can board ferries that take them across the river and into the heart of Bangkok for shopping and sightseeing. The river rides provide a comely breeze and relief from the stodgy heat that defines the weather most days in Southeast Asia. But guests can choose to linger by the pool, have a Thai massage in The Siam’s dazzling Opium Spa, or enjoy afternoon tea at Café Cha.

The Siam opened in 2012 with dazzling design that displayed the owner’s passion for Art Deco. The property was envisioned according to a romantic bygone era of the last century when such socialites as silk tycoon/spy Jim Thompson and his notorious cocktail consort Connie Mangskau were once the toast of Bangkok. Their parties that attracted famed international faces of the time: Jacqueline Kennedy, Henry Ford, John Rockefeller and Roger Moore.

Each room and suite at The Siam evokes that luster with unusual furnishings and flourishes from the 1920s and 1930s. The property brings original Thai houses that were  moved from the former Thai capital of Ayutthaya and salvaged by Thompson and Mangskau. These are now reconfigured as a restaurant, or a teaching kitchen, or The Siam’s top suite: Connie’s House.

Guests of this luxurious Bangkok hotel will stay in rooms that had cost some $1.5 million to design and decorate: suites done up in stunning Art Deco elegance and offering interior verandahs for leisurely breakfasts and afternoon teas, overlooking a private dipping pool. There are a dozen spacious Mae Nim suites, which offer views of the river. Ten villas open up to private gardens, dipping pools and open-air moon terraces. Naturally, personal butler service is available for the asking.

A stay at The Siam can be a supremely Thai experience as the property offers several fulfilling ways for guests to spend their days in Bangkok, whether through a river cruise to enchanting spots along the Chao Phraya River, or having a “sak yantra” tattoo etched by a master monk (who inked such an image on the back of Angelina Jolie) in the resort’s specially consecrated space, or learning Muay Thai boxing, enjoying a class in Thai cuisine, or rediscovering your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual attunement with a multiday wellness program offered at The Siam.

Nightly rates start at sound $650 per night.


The Siam
(011 662) 247 0123


Savoring Southeast Asia: Renewal at The Reverie Saigon in Old Saigon

Few luxury hotels in Southeast Asia make the kind of statement that The Reverie Saigon does. The property launched in 2015 with 224 rooms, 62 suites and 89 apartments in a 39-story mixed-use tower. Interiors infuse delicate Vietnamese expression with dramatic Italian declarations to make it a must-see in Ho Chi Minh City, if not a must-stay.

The Reverie rises out of District 1 that was once the former French Quarter and is now the hub of luxury and business in this bustling city. The Saigon River flows nearby and rooms in this upper floor hotel offer a view of the colorful wooden boats and traditional fan-shaped junks that ply the Saigon and Mekong, located slightly south of the city.

This Leading Hotels of the World property teamed up with top interior design houses in Italy to create public spaces of energetic mosaics similar to what might be found in grand Venetian palazzos. Walls cascade in towers of flowers, an intriguing 15-foot throne sofa of purple ostrich leather with flowing gold trim centers the lobby, complemented by various tones of marble, molded gold and jeweled furnishings that defy the imagination.

A circa 1895 Bachestein grand piano now stands as a reinterpreted art piece outside The Reverie Saigon’s ornate La Scala ballroom. Rooms, furnishings, artworks, even functional desks and chairs all have the signature of a renowned Italian design house behind them.

Rooms at The Reverie Saigon continue the eye-popping drama with marbled mirrors, dripping chandeliers, sharp metallic-hued furnishings or dimpled leather chairs, grand four-poster beds and sumptuous marble and indigo-tiled bathrooms, all with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city. Find a dozen configurations and designs in the room choices leading up to the 2,981-square-foot, two-bedroom Saigon Suite penthouse on the building’s top two floors.

Guests dine in five restaurants that also paint a lavish scene in dizzying decor elements and furnishings. Italian fare is on the menu at four of them and the fifth is a Chinese setting specializing in Cantonese cuisine. Even casual repasts at The Long Bar, The Reverie Saigon’s easy-in-easy-out spot for cocktails and snacks, mean wood-fired pizza from a specially imported oven, and burgers sprinkled with gold leaf specks.

The Spa at The Reverie Saigon does not disappoint. Expect the same mesmerizing design touches in the lounges and amenity spaces. It spans two floors and offers a Himalayan pink salt sauna and color therapy steam room, an invigorating ice fountain (in the men’s area) and comprehensive treatments that bring on a harmonious blend of both Eastern and Western therapies. Consider the Classic Vietnamese, for instance, for a combination of Vietnamese cupping and massage techniques; or an aromatherapy selection that combines Swedish and deep-tissue massage with essential oil blends sealed by warm jade stones to boost immunity and calm the body and mind.

Savoring Southeast Asia: What to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Time spent in Saigon outside The Reverie Saigon can be as spectacular as moments wrapped up in the hotel. The Reverie Saigon offers two curated tours that bring the culture and sense of place into focus. The Reverie’s “Cruising Saigon” day package sends hotel guests off with a personal butler on a private two-hour sunset cruise on the Saigon River. The tour then switches gears at sundown for a city-chic adventure on a chauffeured vintage Vespa.

The cruise includes a picnic hamper brimming full of sweets and savories, such as smoked duck & egg sandwiches, cherry compote and traditional Vietnamese banh mi, all paired with a bottle of Taittinger Champagne.

Booked as a three-night package, the Cruising Saigon option starts at $1,152 single or double and also includes:

•                 Three nights in your choice of accommodation

•                 Round-trip airport transfers in a luxury vehicle

•                 Access to The Reverie Lounge

•                 Complimentary Wi-Fi

•                 Complimentary minibar (refreshed daily)

The Cruise and Vespa portions can be enjoyed on separate days but the property needs at least five days advance booking for either each portion.

Pearls of Saigon is another option and focuses on Vietnam’s energized art scene as a way to tell the country’s stories of history and culture. It’s an eight-hour exploration custom-curated to travelers’ interests, going as lite or as deep as desired with stops as the Duc Minh private gallery for modern and post-modern works, as well as a private tour and lunch at Salon Saigon (exclusive to guests of The Reverie Saigon).

Other sites along the way may include the grand halls of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum as well as a selection of galleries, artists’ homes and studios.

The tour comes packaged with

•                 Two nights of accommodation

•                 Round-trip airport transfers

•                 Daily breakfast

•                 Private luxury car and chauffeur service with sweets, savories and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the tour

•                 Private, five-course lunch of traditional Vietnamese cuisine at Salon Saigon


Rates start at  $1,422 for rooms and $1,782 for suites, single or double occupancy.



The Reverie Saigon
22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard
Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(+011 848) 3920 9526


Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.




Top Resorts to Choose for Luxury Travel to Latin America

Luxury Travel in Latin America is given a boost by three top tier resorts in four very different destinations. If you are considering a Latin America vacation and care to turn it into an experience worthy of bragging rights you will want these top landing spots to be on your list: Villa Manzu in Costa Rica; Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa in Nicaragua; and Vik Retreats in Uruguay and Chile.

Luxury Travel in Central America: Villa Manzu for Celebrity Stays

An easy getaway into the pristine tropics and cascading shorelines of the Pacific, just four hours flight time from the U.S., is Villa Manzu in the Papagayo Gulf of northern Costa Rica, in the northwest province of Guanacaste. Magnificent enough for the family of Kardashians, smooth enough for Beyoncé (who stayed in the La Lora Suite) and suave enough for Justin Bieber, this eight-bedroom manse is big enough to throw a sensational party, private enough to keep a secret, near enough to the U.S. to spark spontaneity, all-inclusive enough to satisfy the most demanding of guests. And it is wild enough to make a luxury vacation to Latin America into an adventure.

The 30,000-square-foot spread offers eight master suites that can sleep up to 22 guests, along with plenty of lounging space and pool-focused comforts presenting 180-degree pans of the Gulf and Pacific – the beach is just steps away. Villa Manzu has two swimming pools (including an infinity salt pool), a spa, a movie theater, party rooms, a gym, yoga platform, dedicated executive and sous chefs, butlers, a full on-property staff. But guests looking beyond the manse will find a Range Rover, a Ford Explorer SUV, and a Jeep Wrangler in the garage,  all available with private drivers to take guests wherever their curiosity leads.

Recommended: an afternoon of zip lining, especially the Witch’s Rock Canopy Tour just 10 minutes from Villa Manzu. The ropes here have supported the weights of Bill Gates, Steven Tyler, Beyoncé, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Cindy Crawford, and others choosing to cross the forest from on high.

A wine cava and humidor is on hand for relaxation lifts. The en suite bathrooms of onyx and marble are as intriguing as the bedroom décor as the large villa is stocked with discussion pieces acquired in Africa, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Sleep with a cast of whale vertebra or walls of woven sugar cane fibers under beaded chandeliers.

Guests can avail themselves of the amazing golf course/zoological sanctuary nearby. The Four Seasons Resort and several other marquis brands share an 18-hole, Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, where 14 holes have dramatic ocean backdrops, abutted by forests of ceiba trees housing howler monkeys and white-faced capuchins.

The Villa Manzu is reachable by a 40-minute drive from the Liberia, Costa Rica International Airport (LIR) where guests will be met by villa staff and whisked to their vacation castle on the ocean.

Villa Manzu
Peninsula Papagayo
Costa Rica
(+011 949) 200 8086


Luxury Travel in Latin America: Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa

Luxury travel in Central America can now be found in Nicaragua, considered to be the next must-go spot for luxury travelers with such resorts as Mukul to attract this set. The resort’s location on the Emerald Coast, a 20-minute flight or 120-minute car ride from Managua, attracts honeymooners, families, golfers, surfers and gal pals for pampering, nature and adventure.

As Mukul translates to “secret” in Mayan, the 1,670-acre Guacalito de la Isla private resort remains a best-kept secret to sun seekers who love the secluded beachfront and exclusive amenities in an otherwise wild land known more for volcanoes, lakes and rum than for exquisite Latin American luxury resorts.

The 37 thatched-roof villas that surround the resort’s open-air Beach Club area are all private and opulent in their own right with views from terraces overlooking the Pacific. Décor is distinctly Nicaraguan, showcased in hand-crafted furnishings and creative folk art touches seen in the use of carvings of local, sustainable and fallen trees.

Stay in a 621-square-foot bohios or expansive beach villa (measuring 2,000 to 3,000 square feet). Enjoy outdoor showers gardens shaped in lava rock; dip in a private infinity-edge swimming pool, dine and lounge in specially purposed rooms and spaces as personal butlers go in and out delivering morning coffee or evening cocktails.

The Spa Mukul provides its own reward with six private sanctuaries, each offering its own themed journey. Wellness retreats he championship, David McLay Kidd–designed, 18-hole course set along a coastal forest. There are snorkeling trips, turtle hatchling releases, and scenic hikes to be taken at Mukul. Would-be surfers head to the Tres Ceibas Beach Club for surf lessons or try stand-up paddle boarding.

Sojourns beyond Mukul might call for exploration of top surfing spots in Nicaragua. But a visit to the colonial city of Granada offers some unexpected time travel. The city is the oldest preserved colonial city in the Americas with its narrow streets and 17th-century houses, crumbling courtyards and ornate churches. The Parque Colón buzzes with artisans and street food sellers.

A visit to Lake Nicaragua should also be on the list, with a day spent kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming in the company of spider monkeys, sloths and tropical birds.

Volcanoes provide worthy hiking destinations, but the cloud forests of Nicaragua make the experience heavenly. Tropical forests cover the terrain around the country’s tallest volcanoes and they keep a persistent low-level cloud cover that makes walking through these virgin forests about as close to heaven as it gets on earth.

Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa
Guacalito, Nicaragua
(+011 505) 25 63 71 00


Luxury Travel in Latin America: Art, Design & Wine on a Vik Retreat

Vik Retreats is practically synonymous in these parts for luxury living at the edge of an explosive movement in regional art, up-and -coming legends in local cuisine, emerging labels in wine and a certain brashness in the way architecture mixes with nature.

Vik Retreats, the work of innovators Alexander and Carrie Vik, brings four bold boutique retreats: three of them in the bohemian chic José Ignacio, Uruguay and one of them in Chile’s Millahue Valley, which offers views out across the vineyard and surrounding nature, with the Andes Mountains in the distance.

Cool came to the sleepy fishing village of José Ignacio over the past decade and the A-list crowd discovered that the Vik Retreats destinations, which include Playa Vik, Estancia Vik, and most recently Bahia Vik answered the call quite perfectly.

Estancia Vik lies slightly inland from the water as a Spanish colonial hacienda in the rolling hills, where polo takes precedent over the surf and sun.

Twelve suites adorn this retreat, and guests get to play gaucho for a day, riding horses around the verdant acreage, or even indulge in a game of polo, the sport of kings.

Just down the road, find Playa Vik, where three stunning suites are located in the central sculpture building, and six small houses, or casas, which surround the main structure.

Each guest room, as well as the retreat itself, is a celebration of Uruguay’s vibrant culture. A central masterpiece is the cantilevered pool that extends 32 feet over the beach, with a fiber-optic light celestial map of the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky.

Bahia Vik is a true beach retreat with 10 suites in the main building and 11 bungalows spread on the sand dunes. The property offers a library, a game room, a spa and gym as well as four swimming pools, a restaurant, and personal concierge. The busy beach town of José Ignacio is just a five-minute walk and La Susana, Vik Retreats’ buzzing restaurant and beach club is just steps down the beach.

Then there is Vik Chile in Chilean wine country of the Millahue Valley, just two hours from Santiago by car. Vik Chile, too, swells with stunning modern art and unique, cutting-edge furnishings among 22 suites in a destination that feels as private and special as it is.

Floor-to-ceiling windows create a background of natural surroundings in all the guestrooms and the works of local and international artists fill the rest of the interior spaces. Chilean wines take a front seat at this retreat, and the vineyard produces its own wines on site. Cuisine is fresh and seasonal, fusing Chilean culinary traditions with gourmet finesse.

Vik Retreats