Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Indian Ocean charm

Continuing my catch-up visit to subtropical Mauritius. As warm and hospitable as ever…

Shanti Maurice lies on the south east coast of the island, an unspoilt area within reach of hills and rainforests. The resort has a curve of golden beach and a calm pastel lagoon, but there is also a stretch where the Indian Ocean thunders on the reef.

Shanti's golden beach

At the Presidential Villa you get the best of both worlds – the sound of the waves and total pampering at home in the villa.

View from the Presidential Villa

Lunch with a view in your own gazebo
Table all set

At the Fish Shack, there is a rustic, barefoot ambience, the sound of waves, and the aroma of barbecue. At the Rum Shed taste the Creole flavours of Mauritius...

Rum shed for authentic local flavours

 The organic garden is part of the secret of the cuisine…

Shanti organic garden

And the people are the secret of the hospitality...

The happy management

Our favourite waitress

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Delightful Anahita

Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita is one of the favourites of Select Collection customers for its poised perfection and style. The pool villa product is really exclusive, while food & beverage, spa and all sporting facilities are excellent – with a special mention for the scenic championship golf course, against the backdrop of the Bambou Mountains.

On my catch-up trip to Mauritius, we visited Four Seasons Anahita for lunch and a hotel inspection.

Here are a few snaps of that useful and enjoyable occasion….

Our host was Bernard Ramen, Director of Sales and Marketing
All villas have sparkling private pools and a feeling of exclusivity, whether tucked away in a private tropical garden, facing the natural lagoonside mangroves or one of the manicured beaches.

A double sunbed for dreaming by the sparkling private pool of your villa

Bathroom opening out into your secluded back garden with outdoor shower
Now for lunch...

We were not the only visitors to lunch
And enjoyed a fabulous meal....

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

In paradise with St Geran

Mauritius is my second tropical home. We at Select Collection were the first in Sweden to invest in sending elite clients to that beautiful Indian Ocean island. Ever since then I have kept up to date with the charms of  our Mauritian hotels and am in Mauritius now to catch up.

One&Only Le St Géran is just what you expect in a tropical paradise. Thousands of palm trees, and a sandy beach washed by crystal sea. On top of that it is imbued with class, fun and great food & beverage.

Now it will take a new forward leap with refurbishments of all rooms, to be reduced in number from 163 to 143. The ocean suites are real havens in the flawless style of sister hotel One&Only The Palm with the tropical mood of muted white.  There will be 35 of these each with living room and beautiful wooden terrace. 

On my short stay at beloved Le St Geran I saw a new sample room and all the impressive plans.

New room look - with a huge walk in closet between elegant bedroom and gorgeous bathroom

Ocean suite. Lovely wooden terraces furnished for outdoor living

All the restaurants will have major renovations,  Our clients who love pool villa living will be delighted with another new opportunity – 48 villas to be ready 2019 on the old 9 hole golf course. At present they have one gorgeous 2 bedroom pool villa.

The hotel will close from February for almost the whole of next year to launch the totally made-over Le Saint Géran in time for Christmas.

Here are some more of my snaps. The tropical ambience....

Palms and calm lagoon

New grass is being put in

The  delicious cuisine...

The fine dining restaurant is Prime - what a welcome

The Chef of Prime

Fresh foie gras

Tuna & apple tartar

Vahlrona chocolate surprise

Friday, 5 August 2016

Personal service in paradise

One of my favourites among the paradise island resorts of the Maldives is The Residence.  I stayed in a lovely 2-bedroom beach villa there a few years back.  The resort is not just fresh and picturesque but they indulge you with very nice personal service.

This week I had my pleasure reflected by one of our customers, whose trip was booked at our Stavanger office in Norway.
My professional travel advisors make a point of asking clients for feedback after travels, and then pass it on to me. This is important information which assists us in advising clients and in helping us and our hotels to maintain perfection.

The Residence Maldives - great feedback.
Island 1 km long with rainforest, white sand and turquoise lagoon. And great staff.

I think this account of our client’s stay at The Residence is worth sharing on my blog too….

The Maldives turned out to be another FIRST for me. I have never been on an island holiday where the only thing to do is relax with so many nice people helping you to do just that!! No shops, no tours, no planning for the next day events and (within the out of season period) just a few people with no crowds or queue's!! It's really was a holiday where relaxation was at the top of the list for us with the help of the staff and we all loved it.

The villa was, of course, a real plus with its spacious pool and passing sharks (small) sting rays and all kinds of smaller fish.
Water villa - ringside seats for fish passing by
When the storm came in one night it was another new experience, winds making strange noises as it whistled across the sea and through the gaps in the sea villa. It could have been a little frightening if, as an Engineer, I had not noticed the concrete covered steel legged foundations. As it was, we all enjoyed the experience with the knowledge that if we did not get to sleep till late we could easily recover during the next day of total relaxation.

We all thought it would be difficult to beat our resort in the Bahama's but unlike that resort this place had really, really nice staff and no sand flies, horse flies or mosquitoes to bite you. The food was another bonus that put the edge on this place as a front runner. Just one day that got a little boring, that was when the storm ran into a second day and although it was expected we were not compensated until the evening when we went fine dining to a lovely sunset.

Rest of his mail is (humerously) about Singapore …

Raffles was a new experience for us and we enjoyed every minute of it. You do pay a heavy price for the name however and with the cost of living in Singapore on the rise, since our last visit, it was a good idea to try for a mortgage before using the mini bar in the room (joke.

Our client then moved on to Four Seasons Langkawi, staying in the Royal Villa, which got this great review in a new mail…

It seems that in the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi we found a luxury resort all to ourselves in the Royal Villa. We enjoyed a massive private pool, an incredible private beach, a massive lounge area with everything you want, a fantastic separate master bedroom suite, an impressive secondary bedroom suite, fantastic jungle areas with flora and fauna in many forms and masses of peace and quiet. There were many things to do outside of our mini resort but what we had inside held the magic of tranquility and peace and when you did decide to venture out, wine and canopies arrived in time to slow your departure and make you think of staying home. It was seen as a good sign of things to come as this was only the first day!!!!!!

Royal Villa at Four Seasons Langkawi
Many thanks to this client for his permission to publish his feedback. His expert travel advisor was Laila Ånestad in our Stavanger office. Or as our client insists; his Expert Holiday Dream Maker

For more about the Residence click HERE.

Four Seasons Langkawi click HERE.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Tiny dots of total luxury

Just a few tips on where to look in our amazing new collection of hotels and luxury journeys Select Collection 2016-2018.

Talking of astounding luxury, Velaa Private Island blew my mind when I was there, and over festive it captivated some of our most discerning clients.

Beach Pool Residence

Beach Pool Residence

Velaa’s perfection white sand and pure water
Click HERE for my first impressions, on an inspection visit before we included it in our programme 2016-2018.

A fortune was spent to make this island into the ultimate hideaway. It is all very tasteful – no gold and diamonds flashing except for those its elite clientele have left in their safes back home.

Or read about it on our website 

Another magnificent new property is Cheval Blanc Randheli. Some of our clients have called it the best hotel they have ever experienced anywhere on earth  – amazing since it is a just a few tiny dots in the great blue wonderland of the Maldives.

HERE were my impressions on a daytrip to Cheval Blanc over a year ago.

We spent a day at Cheval Blanc Randheli. Amazing. Feels like you are walking through a fashion shoot. The dazzling white sands and turquoise water you expect in the Maldives, plus the interiors you don’t expect - stylishly modern and adorned with artworks. Cheval Blanc is not new to the hotel fashion game – they already have two stylish resorts in the Alps and on St Barth.

The place I long to return to for a second honeymoon is the Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island – with its own white beaches, four luxury suites and its own overwater spa. When we feel we deserve it of course. The island costs from 60 000 USD per night.

Owner's Villa -  own pool and  own white beaches

The resort's spa

Five islands make up Cheval Blanc Randheli

On the other hand, in the far northern reaches of the Maldives is an old favourite totally refurbed and  with new management …Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa.

This is one of the best possible places to swim and snorkel, with two wonderful beaches.

Hideaway Beach Villa

Hideaway Water Villa

Hideaway water villa

One of the bars at Hideaway Beach Resort

With shining white sand, palms and perfect clear blue water, Island Hideaway offers very good value for an island paradise, and has recently made a leap forward in food and beverage. We had very discerning clients there over festive who loved it. I took THESE images when I was there earlier in the year.

But you can also check it out online in the Select Collection WEBSITE

Or you can order our brochure at:

Monday, 4 April 2016

Revealing a favourite

We had a wonderful launch for our new Select Collection brochure recently with a glamourous champagne reception in the Gold Foyer at the Opera House. As a really fun thing, I was interviewed in Talk Show style and asked for some of my secrets

David Hellenius gets me talking
Of course David Hellenius delved into the origins of Select Collection and some of the treasures on its glossy pages. For example our new section on adventure – which has a beautifully luxurious spin.

I have worked together with my team of travel advisors to hand pick this collection. So I think it is all wonderful. But I do have a few favourites. One example is...

I visited Hostal de la Gavina on one of many hotel inspections to choose properties for the brochure. This heritage hotel is on the Costa Brava on a peninsula between two beaches. The surrounding nature is stunning and there are wonderful places to walk in the area.

Walking in the area - historical sights

The rooms are very charmingly decorated, some parts pure art deco and some contemporary. All very personal.

With lovely views

I love to start the day at Hostal de la Gavina with breakfast overlooking the ocean. There is a beautiful restaurant.

Famous Cava region Penedez
The hotel has great food and wine - and a great GM.'

GM Alberto Depeau

You get a feel of the Moorish heritage of the area at the fabulous spa.

The inside outside swimming pool
And a great spa brand
Valmont is the brand we now have at our day spa in Grev Turegatan Stockholm...