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Destinations

Hotel revenue in Oman dropped $122m in first two months of 2020

Occupancy levels fell by 7.8% compared to same period in 2019, according to National Centre for Statistics and Information

Europeans made up the maximum number of visitors to the Sultanate in 2019, reaching 127,331.

Total revenue of Omani hotels in the three-to-five-star category fell by 6.3 percent to RO43.9 million ($122m) for the first two months of the year compared to RO46.9m ($122m) for the same period of 2019.

According to the latest figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), hotel occupancy rates in the Sultanate fell by 7.8 percent to reach 62.5 percent at the end of February 2020 against 67.8% for the corresponding period last year.

While the total number of guests in Omani hotels rose by 0.8 percent in the two-months at the start of 2020, reaching 311,219m from 308,880m guests for the same period in 2019.

Europeans made up the maximum number of visitors, reaching 127,331. This was followed by 84,379 Omani guests and 31,171 Asian tourists until the end of February 2020, the NCSI data revealed.

The number of American, Oceanian, and GCC guests increased by five percent, 10.2 percent, and 12 percent, respectively until the end of February 2020 compared to the first two months of 2019.

However, the number of European, African and other Arab guests dropped by seven percent, 0.4 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

Throughout 2019, Omani hotels received 1.77 million guests and generated total revenue of RO229.5m ($597m).

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

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Travel

What's going on in our holiday hotspots AROUDN Europe?

As European resorts finally start to re-open… What’s going on in our holiday hotspots?

  • Many hotels have re-opened in Spain but their pools, gyms and spas are closed 
  • Italy’s coastline has been declared open with umbrellas set 1.5 metres apart 
  • The tourist season will begin in Greece on June 15, with hotels gradually opening 

Travel bubbles, sea bridges, quarantines — no wonder there’s a lot of confusion surrounding holidays as restrictions ease.

The UK’s blanket quarantine on all those coming into the country will be reviewed every three weeks, and could be lifted by early July. 

Countries across Europe are preparing to reopen, too. We look at what your chances are for a summer getaway…

SPAIN

Many hotels have reopened in Spain and beaches are expected to reopen on Monday. Pictured is Cala Gat beach in Majorca 

Many hotels have reopened, but their pools, gyms and spas are closed. Some restaurants and bars can serve customers in outside spaces, although most will not be fully operational until June. Beaches are expected to reopen on Monday. 

Tourists may be restricted to four-hour stays at popular ones, including those in the Costa del Sol.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: The 14-day quarantine for international arrivals is likely to last only until June 29, when Spain plans to reopen its borders fully. 3.5/5

…And here’s a deal: Seven nights’ half board with flights at Hotel Rocamarina in Majorca from £452 pp (was £616 pp, tui.co.uk).

PORTUGAL

In Portugal, beaches will be open from June 6, but sunbathers need to keep 1.5 metres apart 

Restaurants, cafes, museums and many shops reopened on Monday. Beaches will be open from June 6, but sunbathers will need to keep 1.5 metres apart. They can use an app to see which beaches are full.

Hotels hope to resume business as early as June 1. They can display ‘Clean & Safe’ stamps awarded by tourism officials to prove they have introduced the recommended hygiene and safety procedures.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: Portugal is not imposing a quarantine rule, and its 1,277 Covid-19 deaths compares favourably with neighbouring Spain’s 28,000, so it’s a prime contender. 4/5

…And here’s a deal: Seven nights’ half board with flights at Hotel Falesia in Acoteias from £572 pp (was £705 pp, firstchoice.co.uk).

ITALY

Italian idyll: Limone on Lake Garda. Bars, restaurants, shops and churches reopened  in Italy this week

Bars, restaurants, shops and churches reopened this week, and the coastline was declared open. Umbrellas are being set 1.5 metres apart on some beaches. Hotels are likely to reopen in early June.

Sicily will subsidise travel for tourists via a £67 million fund.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: EU tourists can visit from June 3 without self-isolating. Britons can, too, if the UK drops quarantine plans for arrivals from Italy. 4/5

…And here’s a deal: Seven nights all-inclusive with flights at the Leonardo Da Vinci Hotel in Limone on Lake Garda from £511 pp (was £722 pp, loveholidays.com).

GREECE

Kalamitsii beach in Halkidiki, Greece. The tourist season will begin in Greece on June 15 

The tourist season will begin here on June 15, with hotels gradually opening. International flights will resume two weeks later.

There is a limit of 40 people per 1,000 square metres on beaches. Umbrellas are spaced four metres apart, and some are screened off.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: It proposed an ‘air bridge’ to let Britons visit without quarantining, but its tourism minister said the UK was unlikely to be one of the first countries allowed to enter. 3/5

…And here’s a deal: Five nights’ half-board with flights at Eagles Palace in Halkidiki from £399 pp (was £686 pp, travelzoo.co.uk).

FRANCE

The government in France has indicated foreigners will not be able to holiday there until July 24

Restaurants and bars will open from June 2. Visitors must present a certificate stating they do not have Covid-19, or quarantine for 14 days. 

Three-hour slots must be booked on some beaches. Masks are mandatory on public transport, including the Eurostar.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: Its Government indicated foreigners will not be able to holiday there until July 24 at the earliest. It will give an update on Monday. 3/5

…And here’s a deal: Seven nights’ room-only with flights at the Hotel Vacances Bleues Le Royal in Nice from £501 pp (was £738 pp, loveholidays.com).

TURKEY

Overseas travellers to Turkey must quarantine for 14 days at present. Pictured is the resort of Bodrum 

Hotels and restaurants can get a new safety certificate by doing twice-daily temperature checks on staff, for instance. 

They will open at the end of the month, along with beaches. Overseas travellers must quarantine for 14 days at present.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: Its Government is aiming to welcome tourists by mid-June, and test visitors when they arrive. 4/5

…And here’s a deal: Seven nights’ self-catering at Agar Apartments in Bodrum with flights from £240 pp (was £372 pp, jet2holidays.com).

USA

Britons are currently banned from entering the U.S from the UK at present, meaning no trips to Walt Disney World in Florida 

The U.S. has the highest number of recorded Covid-19 cases, at more than 1.6 million. Restrictions are handled by states. 

Some have plans to restart tourism on June 1, when their hotels and campsites will open at 50 per cent capacity. Britons are banned from entering the U.S from the UK at present.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: Low. Autumn is a better bet. 1/5

…And here’s a deal: Seven nights’ room-only at Rosen Inn in Orlando, with flights, from £795 pp (was £1,052 pp, tui.co.uk).

…AND THE UK

Restrictions on travel to beaches and national parks were lifted in England this month. Pictured is the harbour at Port Isaac in Cornwall 

Campsites, holiday parks and self-catering properties are likely to reopen from July 4 at the earliest. Hotels and B&Bs may have to wait longer. 

Restrictions on travel to beaches and national parks were lifted in England this month, but Scotland and Wales have made more modest changes.

CHANCE OF A SUMMER HOLIDAY: Certain, unless there’s a spike in cases or deaths. 5/5

…And here’s a deal: Pitches at Cornish Tipi Holidays near Port Isaac from £18 per night (cornishtipiholidays.co.uk).

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Holiday

The 5 best family lodges in Tanzania – A Luxury Travel Blog

As we know, holiday plans around the world are on hold at the moment due to Covid-19. What better way to get through these troubling times, than to look forward to when this is all over and we can take that family holiday we have been dreaming of. I cannot think of many better countries in the world to enjoy a once in a lifetime family holiday, than in the wild safari parks of Tanzania. Here is a run down of my favourite family friendly lodges on the continent.

Ikuka

Ikuka is perched up high amongst the towering Ruaha baobabs. From your room and the main area, you have stunning views of the park below. The atmosphere is what sets Ikuka apart from all the other lodges in Tanzania; being owner-ran it is truly intimate, and offers a timeless safari experience. If you would like your family to have an authentic safari with amazing guides, a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful big rooms then Ikuka is for you. The wildlife in Ruaha is also exceptional, and you should look at visiting in our summer months of July – October when the park bursts to life and the wildlife is best. Its authenticity means that Ikuka is fairly open-plan, so is probably better for families with teenagers rather than very young children.

Nomad Lamai

Nomad Lamai is a beautiful lodge set in the iconic Kjopes of the northern Serengeti. Aside from the world class Serengeti wildlife, this lodge is particularly appealing for families because of the seperate private property which you can have all to yourself; Mkombe House. Here, you have one of the most enviable family holidays on the continent. Time it right, and your game drives could be filled with hundreds of wildebeest in the Great Migration hurtling themselves across the Mara River (which is just on your doorstep). To be in with a chance of witnessing the river crossings, you must stay at Nomad Lamai from July to October when the wildebeest are (usually!) in the area.

Sand Rivers

The watery and blissful Selous Game Reserve is only a short 45 minute hop from the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar. A combination of beach and safari has never been easier here, and has also never been more memorable than if you were to choose Sand Rivers. This is a lovely lodge with a great atmosphere, huge authentic wooden rooms, and is a great place for families to unwind. The wildlife is also fantastic in the summer months, and importantly, here you can enjoy boating safaris as well as fishing, which makes this a very diverse safari option. Sand Rivers is the Selous’s answer to Ikuka!

Serengeti Safari Camp

Serengeti Safari Camp offers the quintessential East Africa safari experience. This camp is part of an array of “mobile” camps, which move two to three times a year to be in the right location to see the Great Migration herds. Serengeti Safari Camp is my personal favourite, due to its authentic and safari mad approach to the whole experience. The guides are fantastic, and Nomad as a company offer an unrivalled experience across the continent for a certain style of safari; no unnecessary frills but a world class hospitality experience, Serengeti Safari Camp is a true gem. Interconnected family rooms mean that this camp is ideal for families of all ages.

Jabali Ridge

Jabali Ridge is a beautiful and modern lodge, but one which harmoniously fits in with its wild Ruaha surroundings. Like Nomad Lamai, Jabali has a private house too which makes it one of the most elegant, exclusive and sought after family safari houses in East Africa. Jabali is for those who love life on the luxurious side, and want their family holidays to be remote and on the wild side.

Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey is a leading tour operator that has specialised in Tanzania since 1998.

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Travel

The staycation locations in Britain that look like they're abroad

With summer holidays abroad ‘cancelled’ here are pictures of 10 stunning places you can visit in Britain instead that LOOK LIKE they’re abroad (shown with the foreign ‘versions’)

  • These 10 destinations in Britain will help to make Mr Hancock’s pronouncement easier to swallow 
  • The list includes beaches and waterfalls in Scotland, a village in Devon and lavender fields in Norfolk 
  • The order they appear in is based on how many times they were searched for in a month, least-searched first 

As Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, it’s not looking rosy for Britons as far as summer holidays are concerned.

But there is some good news – Britain is peppered with spell-binding spots they can visit this July and August (as long as the lockdown is loosened sufficiently all-round) that look like they’re abroad.

Some, it might even be said, trump their ‘abroad’ counterpart.

Here are 10 breathtaking destinations in Britain that will make Mr Hancock’s pronouncement a bit easier to swallow – and presented side-by-side with the ‘foreign holiday’ spot they resemble.

The list includes beaches and waterfalls in Scotland, a village in Devon and lavender fields in Norfolk.

The order they appear in is based on how many times they were searched for in the UK a month, as discovered by researchers at Faraway Furniture. The spots least likely to be hit by the staycation stampede are at the top. Scroll down and prepare for one’s jaw to drop…

West Voe Beach in the Shetlands vs Yyteri beach in Pori, Finland


The quietest getaway is likely to be West Voe in Shetland, Scotland, which is searched for just 10 times a month. The beach there, left, bears an uncanny resemblance to Yyteri beach in Pori, Finland, pictured on the right

Observatory Gully, Ben Nevis, Scottish Highlands vs Mont Blanc in the French Alps


If you’re in the market for an isolated Mont Blanc-style mountain adventure, try Ben Nevis (left), and an ascent – if you have the requisite skills and kit – up through Observatory Gully. There were only 170 searches for Observatory Gully last month. Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, is pictured on the right

Elegug Stacks, Pembrokeshire vs Nusa Penida island in Bali


There were only 320 searches monthly for the Elegug Stacks in Wales (left). If the weather is right these clifftops highly resemble Nusa Penida in Bali, pictured on the right

High Force Waterfalls, Durham vs Nauyaca Waterfalls in Costa Rica


High Force Waterfalls in Durham (left), in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is surprisingly unknown – with only 420 searches every month. This beautiful 70ft waterfall is surrounded by natural beauty and mirrors the Nauyaca Waterfalls in Costa Rica, right

Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull, Scotland vs Crane Beach in Barbados


The jaw-dropping Calgary Bay beach is one of Mull’s best-kept secrets (left) and holds strong similarities to Crane beach in Barbados (right)

Norfolk lavender fields vs lavender fields in Provence


Norfolk’s lavender fields are highly recommended by travel bloggers but have low interest from Britons, with only 580 searches last month. The 100 acres of lavender available for gazing purposes resemble the lavender fields in Provence, France

Mealt falls, Isle of Skye vs Háifoss waterfall in Iceland


The 55-metre (180ft) free-dropping Mealt falls, left, gets 1,240 searches a month. And may well remind waterfall aficionados Háifoss waterfall in Iceland. Though the latter, right, is much taller, at 122 metres (400ft)

Bidean nam Bian range in Scotland  vs Norway’s lumps


Walking the Bidean nam Bian range in Scotland will take around eight or nine hours. And you’re likely to have the place to yourself. There were 1,460 searches per month, but who knows, that may just have been locked down workers looking for Zoom backgrounds. While you’re there, you might like to imagine you’re in Norway, right, which is similarly lumpy and similarly breathtaking

Cockington village, Devon vs French village of Veules-les-Roses


Cockington village in Devon (left, 2,330 searches per month) is one of the most-thatched in Britain. So Britons don’t need to worry that the similarly cute Veules-les-Roses in Normandy (right) is out of reach for the time being

Sgwd Yr Eira Waterfall, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales vs Mae Tad waterfall in Chiang Mai, Thailand


Sgwd Yr Eira Waterfall (left, 2,550 searches per month) means that staycationing Britons can relax, safe in the knowledge that they can visit Wales and not feel empty inside because they’re not at the Mae Tad waterfall in Chiang Mai (right). Perhaps…

This list based on an idea and research by www.farawayfurniture.com.

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Cruises

IHG Expands Footprint in Micronesia

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has completed a record conversion signing in the Australasia, Japan and Pacific Islands region after reaching a long-term agreement with Asia Pacific Hotels Inc to manage Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

On Monday, IHG announced that the 416-room hotel will undergo a refurbishment before rebranding as Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan in 2022. The property will also receive a 116-room extension by 2025.

Highlights of Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan include a half-dozen dining outlets, a club lounge, four meeting rooms, a 300-person ballroom, a gym, multiple swimming pools, retail area and more than 1,600 feet of beachfront.

IHG’s latest agreement comes just seven months after it completed its first hotel signing in Guam, reaching an agreement with Tan Holdings to manage the 318-room Fiesta Resort Guam, which is slated to rebrand as a Crowne Plaza property next year.

The combined 850 room count marks the biggest ever conversion signing for IHG’s Australasia, Japan and Pacific Islands region, the company confirmed.

“We are honored to build on our relationship with Asia Pacific Hotels Inc as they put their trust in IHG to take on another of their great hotels, Fiesta Resort Saipan, and rebrand it as a Crowne Plaza,” said Abhijay Sandilya, IHG’s Vice President Development, Australasia, Japan & Pacific, in a statement. “Saipan, and Micronesia more broadly, is a favorite destination for travelers from around the world, and from Korea, China and Japan in particular, and we will draw on IHG’s deep expertise in catering to guests from these markets. We look forward to growing the resort’s footprint with our world-class Crowne Plaza brand.”

The Crowne Plaza brand is currently in the midst of a transformation amid a global flagship strategy to introduce innovative design and new brand standards across multiple aspects.

IHG currently operates 85 hotels across six brands in Australasia, Japan and the Pacific Islands, with another 42 in the pipeline.

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Travel

Airline ground crew in Florida holds up signs thanking customers as nearly empty plane prepares to take off


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Airport ground crew at work.

It’s always nice to spread the love.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect life across the country, the air travel industry has seen fewer passengers flying. Ground crew workers at Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida decided to show their support for the people who are still traveling during these uncertain times.

Passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight to Albuquerque, N.M., witnessed the affectionate display through their airplane’s windows, The Sun-Sentinel reported. As the plane approached the runway, ground crew workers held up signs expressing their gratitude for the passengers.

Airlines ground crew shows a little love for passengers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport https://t.co/EriaRq6CYU pic.twitter.com/uaTEkfiSBW

In a photo taken of the display, workers can be seen holding up signs that say “Thanks Ft. Lauderdale for flying Southwest!” and “We love you.”

According to the news outlet, only about 30 passengers were on the plane. Reports of lowly populated flights have been common since the coronavirus pandemic began.

One of the passengers on the flight told The Sun-Sentinel that everyone on the plane thought the messages were “really cool.”

The outbreak has significantly impacted the air travel industry.

A growing number of major U.S. carriers have mandated that flight attendants wear protective masks during flights, with many airlines also urging passengers to don protective face coverings, as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already recommends that everyone wear a “cloth face covering” in community settings, “including during travel if they must travel.” Unions representing flight attendants and pilots are also championing the idea of requiring masks for everyone on board, but there is no current mandate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for such measures as of yet.

Fox News’ Michael Bartiromo contributed to this report.



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Travel

Rise in Vacation Rentals Indicates Optimism for Holiday Travel 2020

Guesty—a leading property-management platform for short-term and vacation rentals, which streamlines daily operations across booking channels, such as Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com—is seeing an encouraging trend in travel bookings for 2020’s holiday season.

Raw data on reservations being made for fall and winter vacations has shown a 38-percent increase in Thanksgiving travel bookings in comparison with the same period in 2019 and a 40-percent boost in reservations for Christmastime.

Guesty reports that, typically, customers don’t begin booking their year-end trips until late summer, but the current spike in reservations being made for the fall and winter months suggests that travelers are looking to apply those saved-up vacations days from canceled summer-season trips.

“The current number of reservations in our system for summertime (June through August), across major booking channels, is 25% of the volume we had at this time last year, showing low optimism worldwide for summer travel plans,” said Omer Rabin, Managing Director, Americas at Guesty.

It seems that, forced to defer their summer travel plans amid the pandemic, Americans are looking further ahead than usual and taking advantage of the incentives and relaxed cancellation policies currently being offered by management companies.

Guesty has also noted customers are booking longer domestic stays, with the average number of nights per reservation having doubled from just over four nights to nine, as people look to use their saved-up vacation days.

When asked which types of accommodations are gaining the most bookings in Guesty’s system, Rabin said, “We can predict that, due to COVID-19, those who perhaps opted for traditional hotel stays in the past will be more inclined to book private rentals on Airbnb in the future, as it means not staying in the same building as several other guests.”

For more information, visit guesty.com.

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Destinations

Whats new in Oaxaca

Oaxaca City, the capital of the state of Oaxaca, known for its eclectic art scene, colonial vibe, ancient ruins and iconic gastronomy, is one of the true beating hearts of the entire country — a microcosm, if you will, of what makes Mexico so fantastic. Oaxaca is showing off a host of new hotels and activities this year.

Hotels

Opened in 2019, Grupo Habita debuted its Hotel Escondido, the urban version of its stunning beach resort 40 minutes outside of Puerto Escondido, along the coast. Hotel Escondido in Oaxaca City is true to Grupo Habita form: sleek, bohemian, elevated design that focuses on clean aesthetics and local touches. Hotel Escondido offers just 12 rooms built into a restored 19th-century house, alongside a newly built tower. The boutique hotel is elegant, understated and infused with artisanal elements to give it a sense of place, from the locally made handicrafts to the exposed brick, terra cotta and wood. The hotel features an onsite restaurant, pool, library and boutique. It is a 10-minute walk from Oaxaca’s historical center.

Group Posadas has opened a Grand Fiesta Americana in Oaxaca, as well. The new urban resort has a delicate desert design, with succulents, cacti, tile artwork and neutral, sandy colors. The hotel has a restaurant, meeting facilities, fitness center and pool.

Casa Criollo has been a culinary institution in Oaxaca for four years. But at the end of 2019, the restaurant opened a guesthouse,  conceived by Chef Enrique Olvera and architect Javier Sanchez. Located behind the restaurant, the guest house can accommodate four guests in two bedrooms. The zen-like space is decorated minimally, much like the restaurant, but with no luxury spared, from the built-in sauna and outdoor pool to daily breakfast and complimentary mezcal included. 

Restaurants

While not particularly new, restaurant Oaxacalifornia has been flying under the radar in the city, and is worth a visit for its light, airy decor, and fusion menu that brings together Oaxacan specialties with those from Ensenada in Baja. Picture bright ceviches, fresh tostadas and succulent moles, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, earth and slate-colored walls, boho-chic decorative touches like stacked wooden crates, hanging plants, and beautiful murals.

Experiences

One of Oaxaca’s most vibrant celebrations is Dia de Los Muertos, held at the end of October/beginning of November each year. This year, luxury tour operator Journey Mexico is offering a Day of the Dead experience, in conjunction with a limited block of rooms at the five-star hotel Quinta Real.

The Day of the Dead experience begins in the markets of Oaxaca, where your clients will watch locals prepare for the festivities. Watch how traditional altars are created, while learning about their significance and the role they play in the holiday. The itinerary brings guests to the homes of locals, as well, to see the altars they have created. In the evening, the program includes a visit to a local cemetery to experience a twilight vigil and to see how the graves are decorated with glittering candles and bright flowers. The experience continues with the famous parade in Oaxaca’s north valley, where locals dress in skeleton-themed costumes and take to the streets.

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Destinations

Bucuti keeping in touch with social campaign

With tourism around the world paused due to Covid-19, one resort is bringing its message to would-be guests and followers virtually until they can travel again.

Aruba’s 104-room Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort owner and CEO Ewald Biemans has kicked off the resort’s social media initiative #BringingBucutiToYou with a video series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Juan, Nakarid and Pauletti #BringingBucutiToYou from Elements Restaurant at Bucuti! The restaurant team is upgrading, training, creating new recipes and refreshing to make Elements better than its ever been – for your return.

A post shared by Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort (@bucutitara) on

New videos post several times a week. Upcoming videos will feature Bucuti associates bringing messages from guests’ favorite Bucuti spots, including the sun loungers on Eagle Beach, servers greeting followers from the deck of the oceanfront Elements restaurant and guests taking a dip in the pool.

“At our resort, our associates are our heart and soul. Caring for our guests is paramount whether they are here on property or, in these unique times due to the pandemic, far away,” Biemans said.

“When travel resumes, Bucuti & Tara will be ready to welcome our guests as soon as they touch down,” he said.

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Holiday

How to visit Paris in style… once the current crisis has passed – A Luxury Travel Blog

For most people at the moment, travel is the last thing on their mind, understandably. For others (like me), it’s something they live and breathe. Indeed, this current climate has only made me more determined to save this industry and keep inspiring people across the globe to reach for new experiences and explore. I hope that this article will inspire you to keep dreaming, stay positive and look forward to the future!

Paris is widely considered to be the capital of fashion. The French have been known for their ability to start style trends (whether fashion or culinary) ever since the epoch of Louis XIV at the court of Versailles.

No matter your reasons for visiting Paris, whether it be with family, on business, or a solo trip – you’ll probably want to do so in style. Style in the sense here means more than just clothes, it is also about attitude and an overall way of being. Achieving that French je ne sais quoi can seem a bit intimidating for visitors to the City of Light- but it is actually more achievable than you might presume. We’ve broken down all the ways you can visit Paris in style- from the outfits you pack in your suitcase, to where you decide to stay, how you pass your time in the city and perhaps one of the most important – where you dine.

What to pack

First comes first, you’ll want to be quite methodical when it comes to choosing what to pack in your suitcase. Whilst in Paris, if you want to blend in with the locals, you’ll want to dress appropriately. In Paris, you will never witness the natives wearing athleisure wear unless they are actually working out. There are a few cardinal rules to follow. The French, and Europeans in general, tend to dress up more so than what Americans may be accustomed to.  First, despite how comfortable yoga pants are, most Parisians will only actually wear them inside the yoga studio (they’ll usually change their clothes at the studio). And even in the heat of summer, you can forget the French wearing flipflop sandals. These are only considered appropriate for the beach- for the practical reason that if you’re walking the streets of the city your feet are bound to get really dirty in flip flops.

Because you’ll want to make sure you’re appropriately dressed and your outfit doesn’t scream tourist, you’ll want to follow these French fashion tips. Start with the basics- jeans are your best friend. They are casual but can be dressed up with blazers, sweaters, a fashionable top and worn with boots or high heels. For the rest of your Parisian wardrobe opt for items of clothing that are mostly neutral colors – black, navy, tan and white. You can therefore mix and match several outfits and won’t have to worry about bringing an oversized suitcase to the airport. To these basics, add accentuating touches using brightly colored scarves and jewelry (both of which are easy to pack!).

For your shoes, as you likely will be spending a lot of time on foot exploring the city or wandering the galleries of its world famous museums, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible. But this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. The French are crazy about baskets (sneakers), so choose trendy pairs that not only feel good on your feet but catch the eye, too.

As for beauty, the French seem to have deceivingly simple beauty routines. It is true that French women wear less makeup than their American counterparts, but what is valued here in France is a more detailed attention to skin and hair care. Preserving what nature gave you by using top quality skin and hair care products seems to be the rule the French follow. This rule does not just apply to women, Parisian men are known to be very conscious of their skin and hair care, as well.

If you’re taking excellent care of your skin, no need to cover up with lots of makeup. Take the best care of yourself possible and you’ll be already starting with a beautiful canvas, to which all you need to add is bright red lip stick.

To give your Parisian vacation a bit of style – think about choosing a hotel or private apartment that really speaks to the type of experience you would like to have while visiting France.  Whether it be one of the iconic five star luxury Parisian hotels (The Four Seasons George V, Plaza Athenee, The Ritz Paris, Le Meurice)…or a hip boutique style hotel like Hotel Particulier in Montmartre, where you’re staying stages the important backdrop for your trip and will set the tone for your experience and over all mood. If you opt for staying in a private apartment, you’ll really have the opportunity to live like a Parisian. Consider looking for a private apartment rental in stylish neighborhoods like the Marais or St Germain-des-Pres.

Beat jet lag

Flights arriving to Paris from the US and Canada depart in the evenings and land in the morning, usually quite early.  The key to having a great arrival to France without being in bit of travel fog is to ensuring you get great rest on the plane ride over the Atlantic. It is certainly worth it to travel by first class if it is within your budget, or to upgrade to seats with more leg room. That way, when you arrive in Paris you’ll be feeling refreshed.

If you do find yourself very tired during your first day in Paris because of the time change, try your best not to give in to the tiredness and avoid sleeping.  If you can make it through that first day and get to bed at a relatively normal time, you’ll usually wake up at a regular time in the morning on your second day and be ready to take on the city.

For your arrival to Paris, whether by plane or by train, navigating the RER train and the metro with large suitcases can be quite a hassle. You may consider hiring a private car service that will meet you at the airport or train station and bring you to your hotel or apartment rather than having to wait in line for a taxi. Alternatively, there are also shuttle buses that run directly from the airports to landmarks in central Paris like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Gare de Lyon and Opera. These buses are quite comfortable and have Wifi onboard.

Now that you’ve arrived in Paris and are settled in your hotel, how will you spend the rest of your visit to the City of Lights in style?

Private museums and custom tours

Depending on what your interests are, Paris has something for everyone. If you happen to be a  museum aficionado, you might consider reserving a high quality private tour for you and your party. These are especially convenient when visiting such monuments as the Louvre Museum and the Chateau of Versailles. When visiting in a group, you’ll typically have a special entry and avoid long waits in line. Depending on the  agency you choose, most private tour guides will typically meet you at your Parisian accomodations and then travel with you in a chauffeured car or van to the site you will be visiting.

Even if you’ve been to a museum before, touring with your own private guide is the best way to experience French monuments. You’ll be able to ask questions and learn so much more than you would otherwise get from an audio guide.

In addition to museums and historical sites, many agencies also offer customizable itineraries for your visit, so you can pick and choose what you’re going to see and do in Paris based on your particular interests.  Plus, private guides will always have local insider knowledge about the best restaurants and spots to try in Paris during your visit.

Fine dining

Paris has no shortage of fine dining. The French capital boasts over 100 Michelin starred establishments within the city. From traditional French cuisine, to contemporary and fusion – there is choice that will suit everyone’s taste.

The following Parisian restaurants all have three Michelin stars and are certainly worth the visit while you’re in Paris.  In addition to award-winning gastronomic fare, these restaurants each possess exquisite style and luxurious ambiance:

Arpege – chef Alain Passard’s restaurant has been open for over 30 years and features organic vegetable inspired dishes that come straight from the restaurant’s own vegetable gardens.

Guy Savoy – located in an 18th century neoclassical building and former home to the Paris Mint, Guy Savoy is famous for its classic cuisine with contemporary twists.

L’Ambroisie – within the elegant Place des Vosges in the Marais, L’Ambroisie has had three Michelin stars for 30 years and proposes traditional French dishes.

Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen – The Pavillon Ledoyen is located in the gardens of the  Champs-Elysees in and has been the home to the prestigious restaurant since 1792. Chef Yannick Alleno is known world-wide for his audacious modern cuisine.

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée – the iconic restaurant features a natural Haute-Cuisine menu of fruit and vegetables that have been hand picked in the morning and then make their way onto your plate that evening.

Épicure – located in the elegant Le Bristol Hotel, Epicure is known for unforgettable French cuisine.

Le Cinq held within the Four Seasons Hotel George V is the sophisticated Le Cinq restaurant, proposing refined French cuisine made with modern techniques.

Pierre Gagnaire – this posh restaurant located not far from the Champs-Elysees is known for having the most inventive menu in Paris.

Le Pré Catelan – nestled within the Bois de Boulogne in the western part of Paris, Le Pre Catelan has been around since 1875 offering haute cuisine in a bucolic setting.

While it isn’t hard to find extraordinary gastronomy in Paris in stylish settings, don’t forget that in addition to fine dining another great option is to visit one of the city’s many open air markets.  Experience the joy of choosing fresh vegetables, poultry and meat, and then finding the perfect cheese and wine. As you walk down the cobblestone streets, baguette in hand, you’ll really begin to feel like you’ve adopted the Parisian style.

Maria Pasca is the Communications & Marketing Director at My Private Paris. My Private Paris is an award-winning boutique travel agency that fully tailors high-end tours and experiences in Paris with the finest local guides.

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