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Roger Kershaw Custom Travel Design Inc.
The Confidante Your Source for What's New in Luxury Travel
Summer 2017

Just back from a couple weeks in Mauritius and Seychelles, researching hotels and resort options for your next trip (tough job, but someone's gotta do it!) and now off to Las Vegas to the annual Virtuoso Travel Week to meet and renew with a few (around 3000) luxury suppliers, the crème de la crème of the industry. Meanwhile, Ian has just completed a travel agent familiarization trip to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, rounding out his exposure, experience and value to the Team. And we are looking forward to our 2017 group cruise in Bordeaux in October. (Don't miss our 2018 Iberian cruise!)

And speaking of 2018, now is the time to be thinking of where in the world you want to experience next year. Give me a call, and then

Consider it done!

Roger Kershaw, ASA
Roger Kershaw Custom Travel Inc.

in this issue
  • Featured Destination
  • Come cruise with us! - and get Two Nights Free!
  • Travel Insurance - are you over 65? Annual policy options, too.
  • Ritz-Carlton venturing into cruising
  • SkyTeam to open lounge at YVR
  • Wild China
  • New Hotel Openings

  • Come cruise with us! - and get Two Nights Free!

    Our annual "Reunion" cruise, with friends and clients and clients who are friends, departs on the Azamara Journey on September 21, 2018, from Lisbon, visiting Cadiz, Gibraltar, Almeria, Valencia and Ibiza, to disembark September 29 in Barcelona - and a booking with us now, by the end of August 2017, gives you a double bonus: Two nights free with the Azamara Nights On Us promotion, and up to USD1000 on board spending credit per stateroom.

    The other bonus of course is that your hosts are Rog and Jim and that guarantees a great time. Check out the itinerary and the savings and come on board!

    Travel Insurance - are you over 65? Annual policy options, too.

    If you've been relying on your credit card to provide emergency medical and cancellation insurance, check again! If you've turned 65, your protection may have been severely reduced.

    If you travel out of province more than once or twice a year, regardless of your age, it's a good idea to consider an Annual Travel Protection plan. Manulife offers these for unlimited trips each up to a predetermined maximum absence and modest cancellation protection. Your covered for short trips without a second thought, and for longer or more expensive trips, we simply "top up" the dates or amounts. I've found for some clients this saves them several hundred dollars a year. Let me quote that for you, next trip.

    Aman chief operating officer Roland Fasel thinks so, "Especially for those who have seen and done it all, isolation or being disconnected from the pressures of everyday life can be a real luxury." Yet even though they are traveling off the grid, most high-end travelers still want their WiFi and other creature comforts.

    Ritz-Carlton venturing into cruising

    Luxury hotel group, Ritz-Carlton, is moving into the cruise market with three cruising yachts. The first of these is scheduled to set sail in the fourth quarter of 2019, with bookings being taken from May 2018.

    "The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world," said Herve Humler, president and COO.

    The first yacht will accommodate up to 298 passengers in 149 suites, each with its own private balcony, including two 138 square-meter duplex penthouse suites. It will also have a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar. Due to the small size of the yachts, they will be able to call at locations like Capri, Portofino, St. Barths and the old town of Cartagena.

    SkyTeam to open lounge at YVR

    Marking their first branded lounge in North America, SkyTeam (Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Korean Air, Aeroméxico and others) boosts their commitment to customers in business and first class on their nine member airlines serving Vancouver. Previously, SkyTeam passengers used the generic Premium Lounge in YVR. The new opening is set for later this year in what is undeniable already the best airport on the continent. Am I a bit biased? I don't think so: they agree!

    Wild China

    No Western tourist can possibly be fully prepared for their first impressions in China. The sheer numbers of people, everywhere, the noise levels, the surprising modernity amidst the unfathomably ancient, the contrasts between wealth and poverty, and the incessant unbridled rapid rate of change will assault, disorient, and delight you all at the same time.

    To tame this, and to guide you out of the cacophony and expose the serene and beautiful, to take you from pandemonium to panda cuddling, we turn exclusively to Wild China, our Virtuoso partners. A weekend, a week, a month - no trip can be long enough to see it all, but with experienced guides, efficiency and comprehension are smooth and fulfilling. It's a tale 5, 000 years in the making, and they're just getting to the most exciting chapter.

    Play your part in the story of a nation set to shape the 21st century. Let me connect you with my colleagues at Wild China for an experience of a lifetime.

    New Hotel Openings

    Here are a few of the new hotel openings that caught my eye. Always thinking of you!

    Villa La Coste - luxury boutique hotel in Provence

    Halfway between the historic town of Aix-en-Provence and the famous Luberon Nature Park, Domaine de Château La Coste is an intimate and unique place. Nestled in a 200-hectare vineyard cultivated entirely in organic farming, the site offers a destination dedicated to wine, art, architecture and well-being in a preserved natural setting.

    The Fontenay Hamburg

    This is the first new luxury hotel in Hamburg to open in 18 years, and joins the Virutoso Preview program. Timeless Modern - Modern Classic - is the title of the designs by the Hamburg star architect Jan Störmer. The innovative, sculptural design of the hotel offers fantastic views of the Alster from almost all of the 131 rooms and suites. Lakeside Luxury in its most beautiful form.

    The Loren at Pink Beach, Bermuda

    My first trip to Bermuda years ago was to Pink Beach Club. That hotel has long gone, and rising on the same location is the brand-new Loren at Pink Beach. Unprecedented contemporary aesthetic infused with Bermudian charm. Eight acres of magnificent coastal landscape with sweeping ocean vistas from every vantage point. 

    Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Miami

    This newly opened Miami hotel takes everything about tire tycoon Harvey Firestone's legendary private club in Miami and amplifies it about 10 times. A vision of 21st-century luxury travel rekindles the old-Miami glamour once favoured by guests from Sinatra to Churchill nestled in a private enclave minutes from Bal Harbour shops and Miami Beach, enjoy expansive ocean views and a style of life that's infinitely rewarding.  

    Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

    La La Land and Moonlight may be the darlings of Hollywood right now, but when this 12-story, 170-room stunner on Wilshire Boulevard opened its doors in May, that changed. An urban oasis in one of the world's most glamorous cities, perfectly set where Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards meet, this elegant hotel represents the best in California lifestyle and luxury. 

    Bellagio Shanghai

    Shanghai seems to be going through another hotel growth spurt, with luxury hotels popping up all over, but we are eagerly awaiting the first Bellagio hotel outside of North America, which will land along the city's Suzhou River, along the Bund. The Bellagio brand is characterized by the Italian La Bella Figura philosophy that fuses beauty, style and grace. The hotel will feature 180 luxury guest rooms and suites, celebrity chef Julian Serrano's restaurant with a large outdoor terrace and a Zen spa and fitness centre.

    Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

    Located in the heart of London, this new entry from the Four Seasons brand blends the modern with the classic to make a chic destination that gives easy access to points of interest like Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the Tate Modern. This historic building, the 1922 Port of London Authority, also incorporates 41 private residences.

    Murray by Niccolo, Hong Kong

    New luxury brand Niccolo debuted with a hotel in Chengdu, China, in 2015 and plans to add more. The splashiest opening will be its Hong Kong flagship, Murray, tucked between the Central business district and Hong Kong Park, with 336 sophisticated spacious suites and guest rooms through 25 storeys, with premier wellness facilities, 5 elegant destination restaurants and bars including a glamorous rooftop bar with panoramic views. 

    Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Napa Valley

    Napa's newest hotel couldn't ask for a better location: Las Alcobas sits next to Beringer, one of California's oldest wineries. Similar to its Mexico City sister property, the first U.S. Las Alcobas outpost will also focus on style. Soak in the Spring Mountain sunset, take a dip in the pool, or melt in the Atrio spa with curated treatments over 2000 years old.

    Featured Destination

    Seychelles and Mauritius

    After "ticking off" the Maldives last year, the counterpoint had to be Mauritius and Seychelles. I spent a week in each island nation last month and never could have believed how beautiful both can be, each in its own way. With literally scores of 4- and 5-star accommodation options, there is something for every budget and every taste. I visited 20 or so in each destination to get a feel for exactly what would be right for you, and you, and you - for you are all unique and matching your uniqueness with the proper destination is my task and pleasure.


    This nation of 115 granite and coral islands (only a dozen or so with tourist accommodations) and a population of around 100,000 mostly French- and English-speaking Creole inhabitants with a very stable government exploded onto the tourist scene about 20 years ago. Major draws are the incomparable beaches and the six marine national parks that provide a scuba and snorkeler paradise.

    The main inner islands of Mahé and Praslin host most of the luxury accommodations. The largest, Mahé, takes only a couple of hours to travel around by car, and is where you will find the likes of the Four Seasons, Kempinski, Banyan Tree, Hilton Northolme, Savoy, and my absolute favourite, MAIA. For 4-star, my top choice is Carana Beach Hotel.

    You needn't leave the main island to experience the Seychelles, but if you do, just a half-hour flight away is Praslin, with Raffles offering the largest rooms and in the country, and several others not associated with the international mega-brands that offer intimacy, luxury, boutique appeal, Constance Lemuria, Sans Souci, Paradise Sun, and my favourite 4-star Hotel L'Archipel, to name a few.


    Two and a half hours south (by air) is the much larger (pop. 1, 300, 000) island nation of Mauritius. Whereas English and Roman Catholicism among the primarily ethnic Creoles are foremost in the Seychelles, in Mauritius the primary ethnicity is Indian, speaking Creole and French and following Hinduism. Other languages, ethnicities, religions abound in both countries, and all live in harmony. Water sports and dolphins are a major draw to the island, but for me it's the hotels: St Regis, Oberoi, Four Seasons at Anahita are three of my favourites. Paradise Cove, Trou aux Biches, Shangri-La, Westin, The Residence, LUX are some of the many others that I visited.

    Each island and each resort has its particular appeal, some to families, some to romantics, some for the bar scene, some for the spa, some for the beaches and some for the marine life. Call me - we'll talk!

    Rupert's Report

    Woof! Rupert here, the un-barked fourth member of Team Kershaw, with my view from 12 inches off the ground.

    Two really big things to bark about this issue: I'm going on an airplane! And luxury is going to the dogs!

    Yes, my daddies (a.k.a. my staff) have registered me on our Alaska Airlines flights to and from Las Vegas. Imagine! Me in Las Vegas! Registration couldn't be easier - and no vet visit or shots required. They've been trying to starve me but there are really no weight restrictions, as long as I fit in my Bacon House. Which I promise to do if they make sure it lives up to its name.

    I'll be staying in a Penthouse Suite at Vdara, who welcomes pets for $75/night. For that price, I will expect the Royal Treatment I deserve. They will really have to kick it up a paw to do better than the Kimpton in Seattle (no extra charge) last weekend! I'm expecting Champagne-infused kibble and a pack of sexy she-puppies at my beck and howl. Full report next issue!

    And luxury. Maybe a little shopping excursion while I'm in Glitter Gulch. Check out these fine accessories and get your Christmas shopping done early for your own favourite furbaby! Not the tutu, please, not the tutu!

    By the way, looking for a beach vacay? Send your Mom & Dad over to this link from CondeNast for a splashing good time: Best Dog Beaches in North America.


    Mobile Passport Control - Start the U.S. Entry Process from Your Smart Phone

    Mobile Passport Control is a free app that U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can use to expedite their entry into the United States. This is the first app authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and enables travellers to create a profile with their passport information and pre-answer the CBP inspection related questions.  See the full list of participating international airports.

    Need a Document Legalized?

    Legalizing a document can be a complicated and confusing task if you don't know how to do it. Each country has its own requirements and procedures depending on the document being legalized. My specialist colleagues at CIBT Visa work with official government agencies and embassies and have the experience needed to assure your documents are properly legalized. 

    Details here >

    Referrals welcome!

    The highest compliment my clients can give is the referral of their friends, family and business associates.

    Thank you for your support.

    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home."

    - Clint Borgen

    Cruise & Travel Links

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    Belmond Hotels Trains and Cruises

    Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic


    Cox & Kings


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