Take a journey with us...
My name is Doug Gollan. I am a strong advocate of the private aviation industry. You can read my frequent coverage of private jets and luxury travel at
I've chosen you to receive
DG Amazing Experiences
because I believe you share my passion for both business aviation and the best travel and luxury experiences in the world.
If my name is familiar, in 2001, I started a magazine called
Elite Traveler that was distributed worldwide aboard private jets. In the nearly 14 years I served as Editor-in-Chief, we showcased the most luxurious suites and the best resorts, hotels, villas and private islands in the world specifically for private jet travelers like you.
DG Amazing Experiences
is your e-newsletter guide to the best places and experiences for private jet travelers like yourself. Each recommendation is personally selected by me with the help of some of the smartest and best travel advisors in the world.
My goal is to give you a look ahead at what's new, what's hot, and the best of the best. To make it easy for you, the stories are short, but detailed, and I provide plentiful links to additional, relevant information.
You will know links because they are
underlined in black
. Where relevant, I provide
contacts of top travel professionals who will personally answer any questions you might have. Key contact email addresses are
nderlined in blue
I hope a
ll your trips are amazing experiences!
DG Amazing Experiences
Please Note - DG Amazing Experiences is not commercially affiliated with any of the resorts we profile or travel advisors we reference.
1. Best New Luxury Hotel Openings of Early 2016
Miami, Dominican Republic, Anguilla and Lanai
is a top-producing travel agency for Dorchester Collection, Four Seasons, Leading Hotels of the World, Luxury Collection, Mandarin Oriental, Rosewood, Rocco Forte Hotels and St. Regis. Simply stated, luxury travel is their main focus. They specialize in luxury events and over-the-top experiences, including destination weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, bar mitzvahs and the like. So when I ran into Ovation's
CEO Jack Ezon
International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes
held Dec. 1-4, I asked him to give me the four hotel openings he is most excited about for early 2016.
"The Faena is going to be a game-changer in Miami Beach, becoming the new center of art in Florida, if not the country," Ezon says. The brainchild of Argentinean fashion designer cum real estate developer cum hotelier
, the hotel is part of the "Faena District," an official designation that will be a hub for arts, eating, shopping and sunning. Travel + Leisure reports Faena's backers spent over
$550 million just acquiring the real estate
Australia, The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge and all those amazing costumes) will impress you "from the grand-scale lobby to the bellhop uniforms."
Molecular gastronomy Michelin 3-star chef
Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea
will bring a pop-up restaurant from Feb. 17 to March 13.
There are over 10 types of suites, including the 4-bedroom, 3,549 sq. ft.
It's one reason I recommend working with knowledgeable travel advisors, like Ezon, who know the important differences - such as which are better for families, with connecting rooms, and which ones are perfect for a party.
Amanera, Dominican Republic
Aman junkies probably already know, but Ezon says, "
Aman's latest foray into the Caribbean, (Amanera) will certainly be the new hotspot for any sun worshipper. With just 25 casitas (there are six types) it will be one most exclusive and personal Aman experiences in the world." Puerto Plata Luperon International Airport, about 25 minutes away, can accommodate aircraft up to 747-400s, so you will have to leave your A380 at home. The first Aman with its own golf course (Robert Trent Jones, Sr. renewed by his son Rees) is set on 2,170 acres, and also includes sporting activities from kite sailing to deep sea fishing, horseback riding and biking through jungle trails.
Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa, Anguilla
Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa
in Anguilla (opening February 1) "will offer beachfront accommodations all with private pools and kitchens perfect for families. (The name comes from the 3-point stone zemi, worshipped by island's Taino Indians, who believed it to be the dwelling place of the spirit.) What's more, its enviable location on Shoal Bay East, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, makes it one of the most attractive new resorts to hit the island in years," says Ezon. Conde Nast Traveler ranked it 6th among "Top 10 Island Beaches for Perfect Sand" in the world.
Caribbean Travel Magazine
said, "Anguilla's most famous beach, Shoal Bay East, has it all: a wide swath of creamy soft sand over a mile long; the island's most extensive buffet of beach bars and restaurants; a comfortable collection of small beach resorts; and an offshore reef that attracts colorful tropicals along with snorkelers, divers and glass-bottom boaters. It's also the only beach that, during high season, draws enough barefoot traffic to keep it interesting for devoted people-watchers."
The hotel is designed by
(Le Sport and Jalousie in St. Lucia, La Source in Grenada) and will be managed by
. The developer is the Goldstein family of New York, whose work includes $1.3 billion in condos and town homes in 19 states, plus over 500,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space. Room inventory will be a combination of hotel accommodations and residences put into hotel inventory. There will be 70 "keys" to start, rising to 129 when the resort is built out by end of 2016. All will have "ocean views" and balconies; some will have plunge pools. There will be penthouses with rooftop pools. There will be five different food and beverage "concepts," and the resort is the first new build on the island in six years. There is also a Thai spa with
with a "gobek tasi (the stone used to generate heat in Turkish baths), sun deck for mud and salt body treatments, outdoor showers and vitality pool."
Four Seasons Lanai, Hawaii
Lanai has always been one of my favorite places in the world, and has always been closely related to private aviation. Former owner David H. Murdock's (he still owns 2%) private jet was frequently visible at the island's airport, with its 5,001 feet long runway. I would often see him walking the resort, paying attention to the small details, when I used to spend my annual 10-day January vacation there in the '90s.
With Larry Ellison (owning) and Four Seasons (managing), the place is about to be reborn, and it will be interesting to see what they have come up with. The island's two main resorts (Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay) have been closed since mid-year and Manele's (now Four Seasons Resort Lanai) opening has just been pushed up from March 1 to Feb. 1. Tom Roelens,
a Four Seasons veteran, is the General Manager.
Ezon says, "Larry Elllison's pet project spells elation to anyone looking for something in Hawaii that doesn't feel like a big box hotel. When it reopens this winter it will by far be the sexiest and most luxurious hotel in all of Hawaii. Set on a memorable crescent of sand overlooking Maui, this private island offers beachgoers a respite from the hubbub of the busier islands without sacrificing any creature comforts - from world class golf to a sumptuous spa."
There are a dizzying 14 different types of suites, with a 15th type, the 3-bedroom Hulopoe Suite ($21,000/night) coming later next year. There are eight food and beverage concepts, including Nobu.
The Jack Nicklaus designed Challenge at Manele (where Bill Gates got married in 1994) with its dramatic 12th hole will only be available to resort guests, so no crowds.
Lanai was about experiences before hotel marketing folks decided to start churning out "unique experiences" like they were cans of peas. The island has great horseback and off-road trails for ATVs, bikes and hiking. It's easier to find a deserted beach than one with other people.
The Lodge is still closed and with only 217 keys at Manele, you will feel like you own the place. Permits for sporting clays need to get renewed, so they won't be available right away. The Lodge and its golf course will remain closed with no reopening date set.
2. Amazing Experiences: elBulli's Albert Adrià's 30-course London Tasting Menu starts Feb. 12
Save some room for dessert!
Albert Adrià of
fame is coming to London, his first time cooking outside of his native Spain.
Food & Wine
has called him a "legend" and a "revered figure in the international brotherhood of chefs."
The younger of the Adrià brothers-Ferran Adrià is six and half years older-Albert will be whipping up a
30-course dinner for 50 days, starting February 12 at Café Royal
, a luxury hotel just off Piccadilly Circus.
dining time is expected to be around two-and-a-half hours and will run GBP 150, about $225. The evening starts in the Oscar Wilde Bar for cocktails and snacks before moving to The Domino restaurant for the main event.
El Bulli, of course, was the 3 Michelin star restaurant in Roses, Spain that closed in 2011. In 2006, The Guardian's John Carlin called the eatery "the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet." Today, Albert has created a new chapter with
a handful of acclaimed restaurants in Barcelona
, featuring whimsical translation of raw food products into entertainment for the eyes, taste buds and imagination via his art form of "molecular gastronomy."
3. New Airport Opens On Nicaragua's Pacific Coast
Since its opening a
bout two years ago, the 1,670-acre, $250 million Mukul Beach Golf & Spa has gained a shelf full of awards and raves from the likes of Travel + Leisure ("
A private guide will take you to stunning Ometepe Island, a volcanic islet set in the middle of pristine Lake Nicaragua. Here, you'll see traditional Nicaraguan villages, untouched forests, remote waterfalls, and trails marked by petroglyphs....Once you're back...look for turtles nesting on the beach. Dinner at the resort might be a sunset feast of fresh Pacific lobster followed by a bonfire experience with s'mores under the stars")
, Conde Nast Traveler (#3 in Latin America; #78 in the world), Andrew Harper (95 rating), Robb Report (Best of the Best) and Elite Traveler (101 Top Suites in the World).
The David McLay Kidd (Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Castle Course at St. Andrews) 18-hole championship golf course was rated as one of the five best new golf courses of 2013 by Forbes ("Half fantasy tropical rainforest, half stunning coast, it is a dramatic mix of suspension bridges and surf, with nearly two dozen river crossings and an eighteenth green literally on the beach").
The "remote" part is now history if you have a private jet. A
ccess was previously by flying into Managua, and then a bumpy two-hour drive.
Now a new airport, Aeropuerto Costa Esmeralda, with a 5,000-foot long runway, has opened 10 minutes from the resort. It includes full customs and immigration, so you can fly in and out from the U.S. There is also refueling and parking spots for up to six private jets.
4. Sweet Suites (and a New Year's Eve Party): The Knickerbocker in Times Square
Times Square attracts 26 million visitors a year, so The Knickerbocker, on the southeast corner of 42
Street and Broadway, provides a luxury respite amidst the bedlam. It was first opened as a hotel in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV, with a claim to be home of the Martini and its beautiful Beaux-Arts façade. It closed in 1921, and after nearly a century as office space, was converted into a luxury hotel in 2014 following a $250 million refurbishment.
Its four signature suites (by Gabellini Sheppard Associates of the Rainbow Room, Armani Café in Milan and Edition Hotel in Istanbul) just came online last week. They are named after former residents and hotel characters:
American painter and illustrator Maxfield Parrish (Parrish Suite); tenor Enrico Caruso (Caruso Suite); George M. Cohan (Cohan Suite), a giant of American musical theater and Martini Di Arma di Taggio (Martini Suite), who the hotel claims created the Martini at The Knickerbocker for John D. Rockefeller.
On its 4th floor, there is a Charlie Palmer outpost, where there will be New Year's Eve dinner and dancing. However, the best feature of the hotel is its indoor/outdoor rooftop bar St. Cloud, complete with its open air Nat Sherman cigar lounge. The deck space features spectacular views of Times Square and is an amazing venue to see the ball drop on New Year's Eve. If you are looking for a new place to impress clients and colleagues, the roof is a great space for private events. Heat lamps make it a venue that is popular so long as the weather doesn't get too chilly, and there is plentiful indoor seating areas, divided into small spaces.