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...

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Experts of Light

At Select Collection Spa we now feature the exclusive spa brand Valmont. People ask me "what is so special about these products?"

Valmont started as a medical brand to repair damaged skin and mastered the secrets of producing new healthy cells. Now focusing on beauty and rejuvenation, Valmont uses the latest technology to transport minerals from Swiss glacial water and protein into cells deep in the skin.

The proteins become collagen to make our skin resilient, glowing and young(er).

This might sound like a chemistry lesson … but in fact these secrets are very interesting and educational – and we needed our expert trainer from Switzerland Anne Launer to explain more in detail.

Therefore we arranged a Valmont event in our beautiful office. 

Learning about products that make the skin glow
Anne told us about the secret of Valmont; how ALL their products work as anti-ageing, from toners and cleansers to creams, serums and masks. Just choose the right products for your specific skin type – whether you need to focus on dry skin, oily skin, fine lines, lifting results etc.

The new line promoted last week in Stockholm is truly innovating – in Expert of Light series Valmont has added zinc which has an amazing brightening effect. This works to create an even toned and glowing skin. The results are spectacular: beautiful skins with a natural, healthy look. Valmont has also developed a new treatment called Brightness of Ice using only Expert of Light products.  

More about our spa and Valmont at the bottom of this blog. But first some nice pictures of our special evening.

From Select Collection Nathalie Meyer and Anna Ingelson

Lucky winner of the luxurious Brightness of Ice treatment Annette Rosencreutz

Wonderful champagne from Diebolt Vallois

Canapes with Swiss cheese for the occasion and Swedish specialities like Skagen

With Josephine Palmquist, Kajsa Gatenbeck and Hanna Hjämerhag
Our Fredrik Ljung surrounded by lovely ladies Gunvor Engström and Kanthi Beck
Preparing Clarifying Pack samples on hands to work their magic during our Valmont Presentation

We are proud to be the only spa in the Northern region to feature Valmont treatments and products. Their philosophy goes hand in hand with ours; to be exclusive in the way that clients need thorough consultation in order to obtain the best results (whether it means choice of travel destination and experience, or the right way to take care of your skin and looks …). Therefore Valmont products are not sold in duty free shops etc. As we do at Select, for the choice of Valmont at our Stockholm Day Spa, it has been Personally Inspected and Carefully Selected!

Note: Valmont has different lines for different age groups, and within each line products for different skin types. This makes the product selection vast and comprehensive, but you will need help and consultation to find the right products.

Great tip: Next time you come to plan your holiday to the sun with us – make sure to also try the Valmont sun care products. As with all Valmont products – they work on anti-ageing at the same time as they protect your skin. And since they produce new healthy cells during your hours at the beach, the tan will also stay longer … reminding you of your relaxing days long after you come back! 

Thursday, 28 May 2015


A perfect lunch of delicatessen delights was spread out on our long kitchen table at Select Collection for a mingle and meeting with our cherished partners One&Only.

Visiting us on Tuesday were Lore Koenig Executive Director Sales at One&Only, and Pauline Massena, Head of Sales at One&Only Le Saint Geran, one of our Mauritius gems.

Here are a few snapshots of this occasion....

Pauline, Lore and Neil our product director outside Select Collection at Grev Turegatan 8

The One&Only visitors in our cosy, arty and elegant reception area

And our delicious spread generously provided by One&Only...

Lore and I are old friends. We always have a lot to talk about - apart from our thriving business relationship.

Select customers love One&Only, which is one of the world's most elite and luxurious hotel chains. For the existing One&Only resorts in our current Select Collection, click HERE.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Mexico close and far

Thinking of Mexico and two places for a lovely Mexican experience. One is faraway hotel Maroma – an intimate hotel on Riviera Maya where Select Collection has a special offer at present. The other – for those seeking Mexican food and ambience closer to home – restaurant Coba in Stockholm.

Maroma on Riviera Maya and a long, white beach

Coba a little closer - but plenty of Mexican flavour in Birger Jarlsgatan
Coba is celebrating a new cook this coming Thursday 14th May with a special evening. Music till late, a special price at the bar till 8 pm, and tasty treats to try from the new menu.

Table bookings 08-611 77 10. More about restaurant Coba here.

Coba was named after a Mayan site in Mexico – not far from Riviera Maya where Maroma is situated. Appropriately, Jonatan who runs Coba, invited two chefs from Maroma for the launch of the restaurant two years ago –and they have left behind some delicious Mexican secrets.

Here is one of the fantastic restaurants where the chefs worked at Maroma...


Beach restaurant at Maroma

Maroma is a charming, rustic boutique hotel on a stunning wide white beach. There are four bars and restaurants serving delicious fare, both traditional and fusion Mexican. The offer at present, which can be booked through Select Collection, is for eight nights including two free. A beautiful place to be....


Crystal clear turquoise water

See Select Collection’s web page on Maroma here.

For information about the Maroma special offer phone: 0046-8 678 15 15.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Lovely London

I love London. Now I had three good reasons to visit. A wedding, a new luxury hotel to experience on behalf of Select Collection, and a new Select office in London...

Calling at our beautiful new London office in the West End just opposite the Cafe Royal

The wedding was at a private club called Savile Club, just five minutes from The Beaumont.

It was the wedding of Alex and Yulia. Alex is the son of Valerie, my very good friend and also a customer of Select Collection.

Yulia and Alex
Beautiful dress

Graceful descent - Yulia and her father

At the wedding
With Valerie's very happy mother at a pre-wedding lunch

A courtyard at the private club

 Note that for interested customers we can help with elite London events as we have contacts at a number of private clubs in London.¨

We stayed at a lovely hotel, The Beaumont...

Beautiful bathroom in the Presidential Suite
The Beaumont facade

The Mayfair Suite

Beautiful interiors

The Colony Grill Room

Studio Superior
And parked at The Beaumont

The owner's car, a handmade English Bristol